The House of Harry Winston is among the world’s most revered and iconic jewelry brands. Founded in New York City in 1932, Harry Winston is known as the ultimate in fine jewelry and high-end watchmaking. with a devoted following of famous and royal clientele. Harry Winston notably acquired one of the world’s most famous jewels, the Hope Diamond in 1949, adding to its legendary stature as “the best there is.” Harry Winston is now a global operation with 40 retail salons around the world, including: New York, London, Paris, Geneva, and Tokyo.
As with the brand, history is an essential part of gemology itself, particularly with regard to heirloom jewelry. The value of each piece can rise dramatically based on its familial, cultural, and often royal significance. Harry Winston keeps archives for this reason – accessing them to authenticate information about each piece upon request. Since its founding, Harry Wintston’s jewelry archives have been maintained in paper files across several locations. As a result, the archive department was finding it increasingly difficult to handle such requests in a timely manner.
“We needed to redesign our archive system to accommodate digital access for our corporate and global retail network” explains Angela Hedges, Global Director of Estate Jewelry and Archives for Harry Winston.
She turned to CASO Document Management (CDM) for help transforming Harry Winston’s archives into a digital, searchable database that would speed authentication requests and help with museum and exhibition planning.
The Harry Winston archives consist of seven decades worth of files, including stock item books and ledgers, jewelry and gemstone photographs, certificates and designs. However this rich data was housed in three different countries among numerous offices and warehouses, making it difficult to locate each file. Authentication inquiries from corporate and global partners often required a trip to a storage facility that would entail a full day of travel and sorting through files in an uncomfortable, non-climate controlled environment.
Angela decided it was time to physically consolidate and digitize their files with searchable text options, allowing for timely research on corporate initiatives. These initiatives include authentication for client services repair requests, appraisal and bill-of-materials (BOM) verification, confirmation of historical and royal client relationships and acquiring vintage Winston jewelry for the Museum Collection – all of which will allow for a fully encompassing and potential Brand Exhibition.
“We are a specialized industry that uses specific search terms,” explains Angela. “We needed a solution that would provide searchable indexes for large volumes of data. CDM delivered with the world-class scanning and indexing we were looking for.”
In anticipation of the move to digital, Angela began organizing and consolidating the company’s entire archive library. She was now ready to move ahead with a significant portion.
CDM recommended Document Scanning at its New York City Document Care Center. Harry Winston’s documents were scanned using high-quality Kodak scanners, and indexed by relevant industry search terms, including carat, stone, center, weight, and stock number.
In just four weeks, Harry Winston’s New York archives were transformed into a searchable, digital database, with access to 35,000 stock cards, 50,000 invoices, 15,000 appraisals, and over 230,000 pages of data overall. .
“We no longer have to battle rain, snow and sweltering temperatures to locate information,” boasts Angela. “CDM is a shining example of document scanning and indexing excellence.”
Angela is now preparing the remainder of the archives from Geneva and Paris for digitization, and will work with CDM until its completion.
To learn more about CDM services, contact us today.