Part one of two parts.
Fourth-generation jeweler Charles Winston has a deep appreciation of beautiful jewelry resulting from his rich jewelry heritage. At the age of 17, his father, Jerry Winston, brought Charles into the family business.
Growing up in the jewelry industry, Charles has worked in various capacities to make his own distinctive mark.
Charles joined the family business in the early '70s. He worked in many different departments and learned the jewelry business from the bottom up. He learned everything from grading and sorting diamonds for quality and color, to the production of one-of-a-kind, handmade jewelry.
He learned from his father that perfection does not happen by accident, but rather from the application of knowledge of product, design expertise and a passion for your work.
Eventually, Charles was promoted to work in a department that designed and fabricated some of the most expensive jewelry in the world. Charles developed a keen eye for quality and style.
One of the first pieces Charles helped create was a necklace that held a 75.52-carat D-flawless pear-shape diamond. That stone was the “Star of Independence.” Cut by his family to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the USA’s independence.
It sold in the summer of 1976 for over $7 million.
Charles once remarked, “I would think about how nice it would be if everyone could afford to wear elegant fine jewelry without the associated high price of diamonds.”
A few years later, he formed his jewelry manufacturing company, Charles J. Winston, Inc., gaining valuable experience and strengthening his appreciation for quality jewelry.
While working in various capacities in the jewelry industry, Charles began to notice the number of companies that were emulating the classic fine jewelry looks, but in a much lesser quality.
He began asking himself what it would take for everyone to enjoy beautiful classic looks, without forfeiting the quality that he so much admired. Then, viola, he solved the problem!
He began working with top-grade simulants and synthetic stones, set in nickel-free sterling silver, gold or other alternative metals. He had his jewelers use the same quality labor that was once reserved for only expensive diamond or gemstone jewelry.
Charles Winston began creating his fabulous jewelry using the production skills and expertise with his first collection developed in 1981. His first collection was his diamond collection. “Diamonds are in my blood,” Charles remarked during an interview on "Good Morning America."
In the early 1990s Charles added to his collection a line of jewelry that incorporated cubic zirconia (CZ) and lab-created (synthetic) gemstones. Charles once said during an interview, “I created this collection of CZ jewelry to bring out the ‘celebrity’ in the woman wearing it.” That was the birth of his tagline, “Jewelry for the Celebrity in You™.”
Charles held tight to the methods handed down over the generations of how to manufacture fine jewelry. The result: "Affordable fine jewelry™" – Jewelry which is produced in a manner that is not going to negatively impact the environment, that is well-made, and everyone will be proud to own and wear.
Charles is a regularly featured guest on television shopping networks worldwide. His jewelry is worn on television shows, such as "Days of Our Lives."
In fact, Charles was scripted into a "Days of Our Lives" episode. He played the part of himself, “Charles Winston, a fabulous jewelry designer …”
Charles does what he loves most, creating fabulous jewelry that will impress and amaze you!
I hear you’re an avid fan of Newsmax!
CW: I do enjoy Newsmax. I was very impressed from the first time I watched in late 2020.
What traits and talents do you and your ancestors have in common that makes a cherished gemologist? Is it scientific knowledge such as geology and engineering, drawing, fashion?
CW: It is a little bit of all the above. Ultimately, it is a love and appreciation of all things beautiful. A diamond has a personality if you will. Every diamond is unique. Then comes the science; understanding how light will behave as it reflects from one facet to the next. Regarding drawing, I am not an artist, but I put my ideas in a rough sketch, or I will talk it through with my design staff and then the magic starts to happen.
Being on top of the fashion trends is very helpful, especially if you make trendy jewelry. I focus much of my attention on the jewelry designs of days gone by. The jewelry worn on the red-carpet is the look I usually go after.
However, I have also been known to set trends, not follow them. Back in 1990, I had a collection of buckle jewelry which was by far my most successful collection in the world of “trendy” or “trendsetting” jewelry.
But all in all, my family and I shared the common belief of using the finest gems available, the highest quality of labor and metal work and to not reduce costs by sacrificing quality or integrity. Beautiful will sell, ugly has no value, no matter how inexpensive.
Next: Charles Winston on doing business in the pandemic.
Tamar Alexia Fleishman was the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's youngest female solo violinist. A world-traveler, Fleishman provides readers with international flavor and culture. She's debated Bill Maher, Greta Van Susteren and Dr. Phil. Fleishman practices law in Maryland with a J.D. from the University of Baltimore, a B.A. in Political Science from Goucher College. Read Tamar Alexia Fleishman's Reports — More Here.
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