Do you believe in curses? One of the most well known tales of a curse is based on the deadly track record of a valuable gem: the Hope Diamond. The Hope Diamond is a valuable stone, weighing about 45 carats and estimated to be worth a quarter of a billion dollars. The walnut-sized jewel sparkles with a rare and rich blue color cause by the presence of boron atoms. It is famous for is rare beauty, scientific insight into our knowledge of diamonds, incredible size and controversial history of brining bad luck to those who own it.
The Hope Diamond was likely found and harvested in India. It is rumored that a Hindu priest sold the diamond for a profit, only to be rewarded for his thievery by being sentenced to death. In 1666, a French gem merchant named Jean-Baptiste Tavernier purchased the blue jewel, naming it the Tavernier Blue (after himself, of course)! The French King Louis XIV noticed its beauty and he purchased the blue jewel a few years after its discovery- seemingly great news to a now very rich Tavernier! Tavernier’s fortune did not last long- he met his end by being mauled to death by a pack of dogs. It remained in the King’s collection for over 100 years, being recut by predecessors, until it was stolen during the French Revolution and in 1791. The travels and owners of the diamond remained murky until 1812, when it reappeared in London. The gem was acquired by the Hope family, which subsequently gave the diamond its new name. Since then, the diamond has had multiple owners in the United Kingdom and eventually migrated to the United States.
Many owners of the diamond grew ill, died in unconventional ways, lost money or family members and even became suicidal. The Hope Diamond was rumored to not just lead its owner to one misfortune, but many unpleasant possibilities. Jeweler Harry Winston, the final official owner of the diamond, helped break the curse by donating, not selling, it to the Smithsonian Institution in 1958. You are able to observe the stone, if you dare to, at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C.