When you think of diamonds, especially rare diamonds you probably think of the rich and famous, wealthy socialites, movie stars of a bygone era and royalty. But diamonds have also been associated with superstitions and folklore which have shrouded these often unique and remarkable gems in mystery and intrigue for centuries. One of the most famous examples of a rare diamond is the Hope diamond, a spectacular blue diamond which weighs over 45 carats and is about the size of a walnut. The stone has been estimated to be well worth over a quarter of a billion dollars. The Hope Diamond, is known by many names including Le Bijou du Roi (the King’s Jewel), Le bleu de France (the Blue of France), and the Tavernier Blue. Many people believe that the Hope diamond is cursed and that those who own it are doomed to tragedy. To this day the question remains: Is the curse of the Hope diamond fact or fiction?
History & Early Owners of the Hope Diamond & Victims of the Curse; King Louis XVI, Russian Prince, Greek Jeweler, Sultan & More!
Truthfully, like many of life’s little mysteries, it becomes extremely difficult to separate fact from fiction. Some historians and researchers believe that many of the hope diamond owners suffered tragedies which often resulted in an untimely end, yet others claim the stories surrounding the diamond are nothing more than grim fairy tales. Many historians agree that the beginning of the diamonds history can be dated back to the 1660’s when a French merchant sold the extremely large diamond to King Louis XIV. According to legend the merchant is said to have stolen the gigantic gemstone from a sacred temple in the heart of India. Once the natives discovered the theft, it is said that they placed a curse on the gem and those who owned it. Some of the more famous untimely tragedies of the previous owners include:
• King Louis XVI and his queen Marie Antoinette, who were both later beheaded
• A Russian prince who lent the diamond to a French actress before fatally shooting her and dying himself after being stabbed to death at the hands of revolutionaries
• A Greek jeweler who fell off a cliff
• A sultan who became insane
Interestingly enough, the first reference to the diamond’s name sake is found in an 1839 Gem collectors catalog to Henry Tomas Hope, a banker by trade who lent his name to the now infamous diamond without any ill effect to him or his family.
Hope Diamond & Evalyn Walsh Mclean
In 1911, the Hope diamond was sold to Mrs. Evalyn Walsh Mclean whose ownership lasted until her death in 1947 but Evalyn is not without her own misfortune that many of those around her attribute to her ownership of the gem. At the tender age of nine, Evalyns first born son is killed in a car accident; her husband has an affair which almost ruins their fortune and later dies an alcoholic in a sanatorium. The family business goes bankrupt, and in 1946 Evalyns daughter dies of a drug overdose at the age of 25. Each tragic episode brings with it gossip and innuendo surround the curse of the Hope diamond. Evalyn herself is much less dramatic and attributes her misfortune to just be a part of a life that has been privileged and well lived.
Formal Personal Property Appraisals and Half Hour Valuations in Beverly Hills, Agoura Hills, Palm Springs, Indio & Southern California
For the next ten years the diamond was displayed in many exhibitions and charity events throughout the world by jeweler Harry Winston before he donated the diamond to the Smithsonian Institute in 1958, where it continues to reside. To date there have been no records of any misfortune since it entered into the museum’s vast gem collection. To learn more about what your diamonds, jewelry or other personal property may be worth, contact Brigitte Kruse Appraisal Services for an formal appraisal or half hour valuation.