The True Story of the Hope Diamond

8 - Hope Diamond

The Hope Diamond, considered the most famous diamond in the world, is a 45.52 carat deep blue diamond currently housed in the Smithsonian History Museum in Washington DC.   How the stone got there, along with it’s singular beauty, is the reason for the Hope Diamond’s fame.

Legend has it that famed French gem explorer Jean-Baptiste Tavernier bought, or possibly stole, this diamond while in India in the 17th century.   It passed through the hands of three different kings of France as well as Marie Antoinette until the French Revolution

In 1830, the diamond made it’s way to England and into the hands of Thomas Hope.   Stories differ as to how it ended up there but it seems that it was stolen and only showed up once any statute of limitations had elapsed.

It stayed within the Hope Family until the late 1800s when it was sold to London jewel merchant Adolph Weil.   The diamond then passed through the hands of numerous dealers until it was sold to Washington Post publisher and owner Edward Beale Mclean and his wife Evalyn Walsh in 1911.

When Mrs. Walsh passed away in 1947, her entire gem collection was sold to famed American jeweler Harry Winston.   11 years later, Winston donated the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Museum where it still resides today.

It would be difficult to discuss the Hope Diamond without mentioning the supposed curse surrounding who ever wears or owns it.  Certainly the stone’s history includes fanciful tales of owners being ripped apart by wolves, committing suicide or simply murdered.   The Walsh’s so believed it that when they purchased the stone, there was a clause in the contract that dictated if any misfortune happened within their family in the first 6 months, they could give back the stone and get another for similar value.

Whatever curse or bad luck may have been attached to the Hope Diamond has clearly evaporated.    The stone has been on display for over half a century at the Smithsonian and nothing bad has happened to the building or the employees within.   But it still makes for a great story.


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