The Hope Diamond is one of the most famous jewels in the world, with ownership records dating back four centuries. Its rare blue colour is due to trace amounts of boron atoms. The Hope Diamond has long been rumoured to carry a curse and was last reported to be insured for $250 million.
The jewel originated in India, where the original and larger stone was purchased in 1666 by French gem merchant, and it was named the Tavernier Blue. The Tavernier Blue was cut and yielded the French Blue, which was sold to King Louis XIV in 1668.
In 1792, while Louis XVI and his family were imprisoned during the French Revolution, a group of thieves broke into the Royal Storehouse and stole most of the Crown Jewels. While many jewels were later recovered, the French Blue was not among them, and it disappeared from history. In 1793, Louis XVI was guillotined, and Marie Antoinette was guillotined nine months later, and these beheadings are commonly cited as a result of the diamond’s “curse”.
The diamond was smuggled to London and recut, with the largest section acquiring its “Hope” name when it was acquired by a London banking family called ‘Hope’ in 1839. After going through numerous owners, it was sold to Washington socialite before being purchased in 1949 by New York gem merchant, who later gave it to the museum in 1958.
- Title: Hope Diamond
- Discovered: Before 1666
- Cut: Several times between 1668 and 1958
- Medium: Diamond mounted on platinum
- Dimensions: 45.52 carats; 2.56 × 2.178 × 1.2 cm (1 × 0.9 × 0.5 in)
- Value: $200–$250 million USD
- Find site: Kollur Mine, Golconda, India.
- Museum: National Museum of Natural History
“Isn’t it astonishing that all these secrets have been preserved for so many years just so we could discover them!”
– Orville Wright
Photo Credit: 1) By David Bjorgen (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons