The information this month on spectacular diamonds is in addition to the wonderful reads you can find on the daily Diamond Tales on the Discovering Diamonds Blog.
For some lucky people a delightful diamond gift for Christmas might be what they receive, if they're very lucky and 'keep their nose clean' (as it were). For others, being presented with a diamond of any size would be completely unattainable so even thinking about it would likely be a waste of precious time.
However, historically speaking, the lure of possessing a spectacular diamond has sometimes been just too much of a temptation and some dastardly deeds have occurred in the acquisition of a fabulous one.
Mystery and rumour surrounds the origins of the spectacular 112 3/16-carat diamond that was said to have been a stunning violet colour ...but it may have been the case that a French Merchant named Jean-Baptiste Tavernier purchased it from the Kollur Mine in
The more dramatic tale is that Tavernier stole the gem from the eye of a holy Hindu statue damaging the stone slightly in its hasty removal.
However he acquired it, Tavernier subsequently sold it to King Louis XIV of
France in 1668.
Some years later, in 1749, the stone by then known as the ‘French Blue’ was
re-cut into a 67 1/8-carat stone by Louis XV’s court jeweller for the Order of
the Golden Fleece. It remained in the possession of the French crown till 1792
when it was transferred from the Royal Treasury into the hands of the Revolutionary
Government from where it was stolen during the tense upheaval.
An approx. 44 carat stone of ‘French Blue’ characteristics was owned by a London diamond merchant, Daniel Eliason, in 1812. It’s speculated that this diamond was acquired by the British King George IV but was likely sold after his death in 1830 to pay off the enormous debts that the monarch had amassed.
By 1839, the stone reappeared and was known as the Hope diamond, named after the then ‘owner’ Henry Philip Hope, a British financier and gem collector. It remained in the hands of the Hope family till around 1901 when it was sold to a number or people before eventually being bought by Pierre Cartier in 1909. The ownership changed a further two times to Mrs. Evalyn Walsh McLean of
who had it mounted on a headpiece
surrounded by a three tiered circlet of white diamonds. She later had it reset
again into its current presentation as the centrepiece of a pendant. After she
died in 1947, her jewellery collection was bought by Harry Winston who donated the Hope diamond to The Smithsonian Institution in 1958, after it had been sent on a decade
long world tour. Washington D.C.
The Hope diamond is said to be the largest diamond in a
institution and available for public view.
It’s interesting to read that it started out as a 115.16-carat diamond and is now assessed as being 45.52. It seems to me that there must be a lot of bits of the original diamond in lots of other jewellery and that mystery would be to know where the pieces are!
As to the curse? Well, if the story is true that Tavernier did steal the jewel from a Hindu statue he must have endured the curse that was set upon the thief by the vengeful priests who discovered it to be missing. What some claim as being a bad aspect to ownership is that King Louis XIV and his Queen Marie Antoinette were both beheaded.
If you can bear with a site that has lots of adverts etc then you'll find a list of curse victims HERE.
You can find more information about the Hope diamond HERE.