The Hope Diamond
The history of the Hope diamond, believed to be the world’s largest deep blue diamond, is full of twists. The 112 carat stone that became the Hope beganwhen the French merchant traveler, Jean Baptiste Tavernier purchase the stone from the Kollur mine in Golconda, India, in the 17th century. Its color was described by Tavernier as a beautiful violet.
The stone was sold to King Louis XIV of France in 1668 with 14 other large diamonds and several smaller ones. In 1673 the stone was recut by the court jeweler resulting in a 67-carat stone. Because of its intense steely-blue, it was known as the ‘Blue Diamond of the Crown’ or the ‘French Blue’.
In 1749, King Louis XV had the stone reset and during the looting in 1792 the French Blue diamond was stolen.
The blue diamond resurfaced in London by 1813 and was owned by jeweler Daniel Eliason . Strong evidence showed that the stone was the recut French Blue and the same stone known today as the Hope Diamond. The blue diamond that surfaced in London was estimated at 44 carat. There was evidence that it was acquired by King George IV of England, and upon King George’s death, the diamond was sold to pay off debts.
By 1839, the blue diamond was in procession of Henry Philip Hope, from whom the Hope diamond takes its name. The Hope family is said to have been tainted with the diamond’s curse. According to legend, the once-rich Hopes bankrupt because of the Hope Diamond.
The diamond changed hands several times during the next several years, ending with Pierre Cartier. In 1910, the Hope was bought by the mining heiress Evalyn Walsh Mclean, of Washington. Though Evalyn Mclean wore the Hope diamond as a good luck charm, others saw the curse strike her too. Her first son died in a car crash, her daughter killed herself and her husband was declared insane and confined to a mental institution until his death in 1941.On her death, Harry Winston bought the Hope diamond and later donated to the Smithsonian Institution.
For the next ten years the Hope Diamond was show at many exhibits and charitable events throughout the world. By contrast, the stone’s ownership by the Smithso nian has been much more fortunate. Today, it is the institution’s most popular artifact.
Hope Diamond Facts:
Dark Blue in Color
Size: 21.78mm wide, 25.60 mm long, 12.00 mm deep.
It is surrounded by 16 white diamonds plus an additional 45 white diamonds which make up the necklace chain.