Even if you haven’t been to the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. to see the Hope Diamond, you have likely heard of the Hope Diamond. The Hope Diamond is a beautiful 45.52ct fancy dark grayish-blue diamond surrounded by exquisite diamonds in various shapes with a chain of marquise diamonds. The Hope Diamond’s historical records begins in the 17th century…but is it cursed? Let’s investigate!
The Hope Diamond is thought to have come from the Kollur mine in Golconda, India and was originally a 115.16ct diamond described as “beautiful violet” in color and set in a Hindu statue. Jean Baptiste Tavernier was a French merchant in the 17th century who bought, sold, and traded gemstones. Some accounts say he purchased the gemstone, while other say he stole it from the Hindu statue causing the priests to put a curse on whoever possessed the gem. Some accounts say that Tavernier came down with a raging fever, but records show that he lived till he was 84 years old.
Tavernier sold the diamond to King Louis XIV in 1668, and it was recut down to 67cts and commissioned to be set into a gold necklace that was worn for ceremonies. The diamond became known as the Blue Diamond of the Crown or The French Blue. King Louis XIV died of gangrene in 1715. Was it the curse? Well, King Louis XIV’s reign did last 72 years longer than any other European monarch of the time, so it seems unlikely.
King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were passed down The French Blue via the royal treasury. Marie Antoinette did wear The French Blue and was eventually beheaded. Was it the curse or hundreds of years of suppression by the monarchy that caused her death? Interestingly, The French Blue was stolen in September of 1792 in a week-long looting of the royal treasury. Was it the curse?
The next recorded owner was Henry Phillip Hope in 1839 and was cut to the current 45.52ct diamond which we now refer to as the Hope Diamond. It was sold after his death to Pierre Cartier, who eventually reset it into the setting we know today, for the next owner, Evalyn Walsh McLean. She is said to have had a series of tragedies: her son died at age 9; her daughter died of a drug overdose; her husband left her; she died in psychiatric hospital. Was it the curse?
Harry Winston, Inc. purchased all of the Evalyn McLean’s jewelry including the Hope Diamond. It was used in a series of exhibits and charity events for about ten years. Harry Winston, Inc donated the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian in 1958 where you can visit it today!
In 1988, The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) was given to opportunity to unset the diamond and do a laboratory report which is the first time it has been formally graded by a widely recognized system and organization. The diamond was graded as a VS1 clarity and a fancy dark grayish-blue diamond of natural color origin. They also found that the Hope Diamond phosphoresces a red color under short-wave ultraviolet radiation. That means that after the short-wave ultraviolet radiation was applied, the diamond glowed bright red even after the light was turned off!
My thought is that the tragedies and deaths surrounding the people who possessed the Hope Diamond is not from a curse, but it is fun to speculate! I think whomever owned the diamond was an extremely lucky person to wear and admire up close this incredible natural wonder. I highly recommend visiting the Hope Diamond at the Smithsonian.
While it may not be the Hope Diamond, I would love to help you with your special purchase or custom design! Angela Cisneros Jewelry Concierge brings back the joy and confidence of jewelry shopping, so that you can celebrate with ease! My by-appointment approach means:
One-on-one appointments (personal attention and no crowds!)
Discretion and privacy (surprises remain surprises!)
Expert help from a Graduate Gemologist with 23 years of experience (yep, that’s me!)
Book your FREE appointment with me today! www.angelacisneros.com/book-appointment
*Photo credit: telegraph.co.uk Harry Winston and the history of the Hope Diamond