Harry Winston Minerals Diamond Processing Plant

In 1963, Harry Winston opened a diamond cutting plant in Chandler. The plant was a collaboration between Harry Winston and the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) at the behest of Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater. Goldwater sought a solution to the issue of chronic underemployment in Arizona’s native communities, and believed that artisans in those communities would have the skills to succeed in diamond cutting. Winston would hire apprentice cutters from the native communities. The BIA would pay their salaries for a three year training period for each apprentice. After receiving three years of training, the cutters would be hired by Harry Winston. The plant was built in Chandler because of its proximity to communities in the Gila River Indian Community and Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community, where most of the apprentice cutters lived.

Harry Winston hired Samuel Soldinger to manage the plant starting in 1964. Soldinger was a Holocaust survivor. He had learned the diamond cutting trade after the conclusion of World War II, when an uncle living in New York City agreed to sponsor Soldinger’s immigration to the United States if he learned the trade. Soldinger was selected for his life experience and his sunny disposition. Winston believed that combination would help Soldinger empathize with his employees.

The plant operated in Chandler until 1982. The building, which was designed by prominent local architect Glenn McCollum, still stands and is the evidence facility for the Chandler Police Department.

Photographs of Harry Winston Minerals Diamond Processing Plant