In the Hope Diamond, we have a story with all the twists and turns of a great mystery story. The Hope Diamond, one of the world’s most famous and valuable diamonds, has been worn by kings and queens, as well as wealthy socialites. It’s also said to be cursed.
- The Hope Diamond was originally brought from India to France by Jean Baptiste Travernier, a merchant. Travernier sold the blue diamond to King Louis XIV of France in 1668. At that time, it was 112 carats. Most modern wedding rings are 1 carat or less. Imagine how large 112 carats is!
- King Louis had the stone cut and placed on a ribbon necklace, which he wore for important ceremonies.
- During the French Revolution, the royal jewels, including the diamond, which was then called “the Blue Diamond of the Crown,” were turned over to the government. The famous diamond was stolen during this period.
- Daniel Eliason, an English jeweler, acquired the diamond in 1812 and sold it to King George IV of England. When the king died in 1830, the diamond was sold to pay for his debts.
- It disappeared until Henry Phillip Hope acquired it in 1839. After Hope’s death, it was passed to family members and later sold at an auction in Paris in 1909.
- Evalyn Walsh McClean, a socialite from Washington D.C., bought it from Cartier in 1910. She kept it until her death in 1847.
- Harry Winston bought Mrs. McClean’s jewelry collection, including the Hope Diamond, after her death. He later donated it to the Smithsonian Museum, where it still resides.
Questions and Answers
Question: Why is the diamond said to be cursed?
Answer: The story goes that the diamond originally rested in the forehead of a Hindu god. A priest stole it and suffered a long, agonizing death. The French merchant who sold the diamond to King Louis XIV was later mauled and killed by a pack of dogs. And then, we all know what happened to Marie Antoinette and King Louis.
They were beheaded during the French Revolution. Rumors have circulated that whoever owned the diamond would suffer terrible troubles – suicide, murder, financial disaster, and health problems. Are these rumors true? Or just folklore? You decide.
Today, the diamond is about the size of a walnut and is 45 carats. Mrs. McClean had it made into a beautiful necklace surrounded by smaller white diamonds. The Hope Diamond, although blue, shines red when placed under ultraviolet light.
Visit the Smithsonian to learn more about the Hope Diamond.