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Subject: Ambaji Shinde, 85; Main Designer for Jeweler Harry Winston

New York
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Date Posted: April 13, 2003 3:33:00 EDT

Ambaji Shinde, 85, principal designer for jeweler Harry Winston whose creations were worn by Hollywood celebrities, died Tuesday in New York City. The cause of death was not reported.

Born in Goa, India, Shinde was trained in the fine arts at the J.J. School of Art in Bombay. His first job was working for Nanubhai jewelers, which provides turban pins, pearl ropes and other finery for Indian nobility. His first designs were diamond bracelets worn by the maharajah of Porbander. He later arranged jewelry for other wealthy Indian families.

After India gained independence in 1947, Shinde was approached by Winston with an offer of work. For the next 40 years, Shinde's job kept him in contact with some of the wealthiest people in the world and some of its most precious stones.

He designed the Winston firm's signature wreath necklace, as well as the $175,000 necklace that Gwyneth Paltrow wore to the 1999 Academy Awards. He also reset the 45.52-carat blue Hope Diamond, which was once worn by actress Michelle Pfeiffer.

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