The Hope Diamond, referred to by many as the most famous diamond in the world, is not only beautiful, but also carries a very unique and storied history.
It is believed to have originally been mined in India, and since then this stone has been involved with merchants, royalty, heiresses and was once stolen during the French Revolution. It has a rare natural blue colour and weighs an astounding 45.52 carats.
The Curse of the Hope Diamond
There have long been rumours of the Hope Diamond carrying a curse. In 1911, Evalyn Walsh McLean’s husband purchased the Hope Diamond for $180,000 (almost $5,000,000 today) from Pierre Cartier (yes – that Cartier). After that, her son died in a car accident, her husband left her (before being put in an insane asylum for the rest of his life), their family newspaper went bankrupt and her daughter died of an overdose.
Another interesting fact is that this stone, after having UV light shone on it, will give off a red glow that lasts for a while after the UV light is turned off. This red glow has probably helped it acquire a reputation of being a source of bad luck.
Cursed or not, the Hope Diamond was last reported to be insured for $250 million.
In 1949 the diamond was sold to Harry Winston. Mineralogist George Switzer then persuaded Winston to donate the Hope Diamond for a proposed gem exhibit with the Smithsonian. In 1958, Winston agreed and sent the diamond through regular mail (in a simple brown box!), and since then the stone has been on display at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.