The most famous “cursed” gemstone – the Hope diamond

The most famous “cursed” gemstone – the Hope diamond
Can Gemstones Be Cursed? A resounding NO from us at Covett. We just wanted to get that out of the way, but it is 2020...

A resounding NO from us at Covett. We just wanted to get that out of the way, but it is 2020, and Halloween, so we thought we would share a bit of superstitious folklore. The only jewellery curse we believe in is not being able to have as much jewellery as you want.

The Hope Diamond is celebrated for its stunning colour and size; weighing 45.52 carats and is the world’s largest deep blue diamond to date. Its allure is its aura of mystery as the stone is said to carry a curse.  This stone has sometimes entered people’s lives as brooches and sometimes as pendants. Over the years, it perpetrated many terrible events, including a  massacre (allegedly).

This diamond was originally discovered in an Indian mine in the 17th century and as a larger stone weighing 115 carats.  It was purported to be stolen from the statue of the goddess Sita, who fought evil in a temple in India during that time. Acquired by a French merchant, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, who sold the stone to King Louis the 14th of France in 1668.  Tavernier later traveled to Russia in search of precious stones and was attacked and killed by dogs.

In 1673, King Louis the 14th recut the diamond into a 67.12-carat heart-shaped diamond, known as the French Blue. A smaller stone was known as the Rose de Paris. Louis the 14th wore the diamond with a ribbon hanging around his neck. After the king began to wear the diamond, his son, brother, grandson, and his grandson’s wife died one after the other.

Louis the 15th did not want to wear this diamond for fear of the curse, but after his death, the new heir of the diamond became Louis the 16th and his queen, Marie Antoinette. The blue gem was stolen during the French Revolution in 1792; later both Louis and his queen met their fate with the guillotine.

Some of the treasure was found later, but the blue diamond did not surface until 1812 in London as a smaller gem.  It was the at that time the property of the son of a diamond cutter from Amsterdam. The man who stole the diamond from his father committed suicide a few months later.

In 1839, a diamond called the Hope diamond was recorded in Henry Philip hopes’s gem collection, he died later that same year.   That would be the name of the diamond after this date. But the diamond instead of bringing hope to the English brought despair to the Hope family. After the financial catastrophes, in 1887, the diamond was sold to pay off Lord Henry Hopes debts to a French man who later committed suicide.

The famous diamond was seen on the neck of a belly dancer this time. The beautiful belly dancer, who took the priceless jewel from a Russian prince, was killed by a jealous lover. In 1908, jewellery addict, Adbülhamit the 2nd, purchased the Hope diamond for half a million dollars. But he was deposed the following year. The next owner of the diamond was the famous jeweler Pier Cartier. Cartier wanted to sell it, not to own it.

In 1911, a wealthy American heiress, Evelyn Walsh McLean, bought the ominous jewelry. The blue diamond continued to radiate terrible events and she befell personal and financial misfortune, which fuelled rumors of the curse. The blue diamond was sold to repay debts 2 years after this woman’s death.

The famous NY jeweller, Harry Winston, won the auction for the diamond and the rest of McLean’s jewels. Winston donated The Hope to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington to end the curse of the diamond. On November 10th, 1958, the diamond reached the institute posted in a light brown box and insured dor $155. It is there now.