NEW YORK — Ambaji Shinde, Harry Winston’s principal jewelry designer whose creative eye shaped the Winston aesthetic for 40 years, died on Tuesday of complications from diabetes. He was 85.
Born in Goa, India, Shinde studied textiles and fine art at the JJ School of Art in Mumbai before joining Mumbai-based Nanubhai Jewelers in 1937. His elaborate designs, often inspired by the great temples of India, quickly caught the attention of India’s elite, and he was asked to design pieces for the maharajahs of Porbandar, Dhar and Baroda, for whom he designed the crown jewels. When India’s independence was proclaimed in 1947, the work from maharajahs stopped coming in, and Harry Winston, the jeweler’s late founder, recruited Shinde after coming across his elaborate work on one of his regular gem-buying trips.
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