Famous precious stone with a reputation of bringing disaster
to its owners. The Hope diamond is one of the largest colored
diamonds known, a vivid blue and weighing 44.4 carats.
It is believed to have been cut from an even larger stone of
more than 67 carats. The name is derived from Henry Thomas
Hope, a former owner who bought it for £18,000.
Fact and legend are inextricably tangled in the story of this
unlucky diamond. The known history begins in the seventeenth
century with the explorer Jean Baptiste Tavernier
(16051689), who is reputed to have acquired the stone from
the Indian mines of Killur, Golconda, around 1642. He sold
the stone to Louis XIV in 1668 and subsequently lost all his
money through his sons speculations.
The diamond was worn by Madame de Montespan at a court
ball, and she fell from favor soon afterward. From this time on,
the diamond had a sinister reputation. It was worn by Marie
Antoinette, who had misfortune in connection with diamonds
when the celebrated Affair of the Diamond Necklace preceded
the French Revolution.
Princess de Lamballe, who was lent the diamond, was executed
on the guillotine and her head was paraded on a pike
under the windows of the prison in which Louis XVI and his
family were imprisoned.
The diamond disappeared for 30 years, reappearing in the
possession of a Dutch lapidary named Fals. As in the case of
Tavernier, a son brought Fals misfortune. He stole the diamond
and left his father to die in poverty. The son entrusted
the diamond to a Frenchman named Beaulieu, who committed
suicide after selling it to London dealer Daniel Eliason, who
died under mysterious circumstances. It was then that the diamond
was acquired by Henry Thomas Hope, and it remained
in the Hope family for 70 years.
Lord Francis Hope, last of the line, married an actress but
divorced her and lost all his money. The diamond disappeared
for a time, but was later acquired by an American who went
bankrupt, a Russian who was stabbed, and a French dealer who
committed suicide. A Greek merchant sold it to Abdul Hamid
II, sultan of Turkey, who lost his throne. In 1908 the diamond
was bought by Habib Bey for £80,000 but was auctioned the following
year at a fifth of the price.
Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology 5th Ed. Hope Diamond
The diamond got to the United States through a New York
jeweler who was said to have arranged a sale to a man who was
a passenger on the ill-fated Titanic.
The next owner was a millionaire named McLean. His wife,
Evalyn, published a book, Father Struck It Rich (1938), in which
she describes the misfortunes that befell the family in spite of
having the diamond blessed by a priest.
The diamond was finally bought by Harry Winston, a jeweler
in New York. He displayed it for several years and donated it
in November 1958 to the Smithsonian Institution, Washington,
D.C. Interestingly enough, Winston sent it through the U.S.
mail system and it arrived without incident at the Smithsonian.
Cohen, Daniel. Encyclopedia of the Strange. New York Dodd,