Earlier, I already wrote about the Hope Diamond being the fourth most expensive diamond in the world. But there is more to this blue diamond than only the huge value. Rumors go that the Blue Hope is a cursed diamond… Let’s find out why that is.
History of the Hope DiamondThe Hope Diamond is probably discovered in the 17th century in Golconda, India in the Kollur Mine. Back then, it was around 60 carats heavier than the stone as it is today. Before the gem got its current name, the Hope Diamond, it wore another: The Tavernier Blue.
The Tavernier BlueJohn Baptist Tavernier was a French Merchant. In the mid-17th century, he came across the beautiful blue stone that came from the Kollur Mine. Captivated by the stunning color, he decided to purchase it and name it after himself: the Tavernier Blue. Mr. Tavernier sold the diamond to the French King Louis XIV in 1668. The king referred to his latest asset as the “French Blue” or “Blue Diamond of the Crown”. The French Blue was the first recorded blue diamond in European history.
The French BlueThe king was very fond of his diamond. To be able to wear it more often, he ordered to recut the French Blue immensely. It lost a lot of its weight, but the diamond looked even better than before. The King wore the repolished gem on a neck ribbon for royal events. When King Louis XIV died in 1746, his great-grandson, Louis XV became king. He ordered the stone to be reset for the Order of the Golden Fleece in a brilliant red spinel. When King Louis XV passed, his grandson became king with Marie-Antoinette as his queen. From that moment on, Marie-Antoinette often wore the French Blue. Portrait of King Louis XIV In 1791, during the French Revolution, the Royal House gave the diamond to the government for safekeeping. Sadly, in 1972, it was stolen along with several other parts of the French Royal Treasury.
Resurfaced?In the early 19th century, a large blue diamond appeared in England. London diamond merchant Daniel Elisaon strongly believed that this diamond was the original French Blue diamond as it was similar in hue to the Tavernier Diamond. We assume the diamond was in the possession of King George IV. After his death, the Royal House sold it to pay off the late king’s debts.
The Hope DiamondIn 1839, a rare blue diamond resurfaced in the collection of Henry Philip Hope. There is no record of how the diamond came into his possession. But we do know he named the diamond after himself: the Hope Diamond. In his will, he left the Hope Diamond to his nephew Henry Thomas Hope who passed it on to his grandson, Lord Francis Hope. After held by many Hopes, it came in the hands of Pierre Cartier in 1909. In 1911, a socialite from Washington D.C., U.S.A., named Mrs. Evalyn Walsh McLean, purchased the Hope Diamond from Cartier in Paris, France. She purchased the diamond after it was set on a three-tiered headpiece. Shortly after purchasing, Mrs. Walsh McLean gave orders to reset the blue diamond in a necklace. The necklace contains 45 white diamonds. To this day, the Blue Hope Diamond is still in this setting. Mrs. Evalyn Walsh McLean wearing the blue Hope Diamond in a necklace
Where is the Hope Diamond Today?Upon Mrs. McLean’s death in 1949, Harry Winston Inc, purchased McLean’s entire jewelry collection. For the following ten years, it was on display at many worldwide events. On November 10, 1958, Winston donated it to the Smithsonian Institute, where it remains today.
Characteristics of the Hope DiamondOver the course of time, the Hope Diamond changed a lot. After all, it was repolished and reset many diamonds. Currently, it has the following characteristics:
- Weight: 45.52 carats
- Length 25.60 mm
- Width 21.78 mm
- Depth 12.00 mm
- Clarity: VS1. Whitish graining is present
- Color: Fancy dark grayish-blue
- Cut: Cushion antique brilliant, a faceted girdle and additional facets on the pavilion