Over the years there have been many gemstones believed to be cursed, but the most famous of the gemstones is the Hope Diamond. This lustrous blue diamond weighing 45.52 carats is surrounded by tales of misfortune. With Halloween just around the corner, it is the perfect time to explore the history of this stone and some of the misfortune associated with it. Is this stone really cursed?
What is the Hope Diamond?
In 1668, King Louis XIV of France purchased a large blue diamond weighing a little over 112 carats from a French merchant. The king had the stone re-cut and set in gold by his court jeweler, and the stone was named The French Blue. This amazing gemstone remained with the French royal family until it was stolen in 1792 during the French Revolution, along with the rest of France’s crown jewels. Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette, reining monarchs at the time of the revolution experienced the ultimate misfortune the diamond is accused of bringing to its owners. While attempting to flee France they were caught and both guillotined for treason.
Decades later, a diamond closely resembling the stolen French Blue reappeared in London, and owned by King George IV of England. The diamond was sold after his death in 1830 to help pay off his enormous debts. It was purchased by Henry Philip Hope, from whom the stone got its name. The diamond remained in the Hope family for many years, until it was auctioned off in 1908 to a Turkish Sultan, who was later dethroned in an army revolt.
Evalyn Walsh McLean
In 1909, famed jeweler Pierre Cartier bought the Hope Diamond. He enticed Evalyn Walsh McLean, an American heiress and socialite to purchase the diamond in 1912. McLean was the last private owner of the diamond, and was not afraid of the stones history. She did experience tremendous misfortune while owning it, the loss of her eldest son at the age of 9 in a car accident, the loss of her only daughter at age 25 to suicide, and the loss of her husband to insanity, and eventually his death in an insane asylum. There was also financial misfortune, which led to the loss of the family newspaper The Washington Post to a bankruptcy auction. However, McLean did not believe the diamond brought her bad luck, and wore it until she died in 1947.
Harry Winston, an American Jeweler bought McLean’s entire jewelry collection including the Hope Diamond after her death in 1947, and in 1958, Winston donated the famous diamond to the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C., where it still resides today. The last person to experience the misfortune of the diamond was the mail carrier that delivered the stone to the Smithsonian Institution in a brown cardboard box. He had his leg crushed in an accident and a brief time later lost his home in a fire.
Is the stone cursed, or is this just random bad luck?