"Death is no more than passing from one room into another." – HELEN KELLER

Curse of the Hope Diamond

Is it really cursed? The first supposed curse death was that of a man named Tavernier. According to legend, he took a trip to India. While visiting, he stole the diamond from a statue of the Hindu goddess Sita. After selling the diamond, he was torn apart in Russia from a pack of wild dogs. This legend is more myth than fact.

There was a man named Jean Baptiste Tavernier. He was a French jeweler who in 1642 traveled to India. He bought, not stole, a 112 3/16 carat blue diamond which is believed to have come from the Kollur mine in Golconda, India. Twenty-six years later in 1668, he arrived back in France. King Louis XIV bought the blue diamond along with 1,166 others from Tavernier. He was made a noble and did die in Russia but at the age of 84, the cause of death is unknown.

The next legend claims the lives of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. The pair was beheaded during the French Revolution and the diamond was blamed. First of all, Louis XIV and Louis XV both owned the diamond before Louis XVI and nothing bad happened to them. Second of all, it was the French Revolution. A lot of people were beheaded during the Reign of Terror. While the two royals attempted to flee, the diamond was taken from them and placed in the Garde-Meuble. It was repeatedly robbed, but most of the crown jewels were recovered. However, the blue diamond didn't surface again until around 1813.

Another legend states the Hope family, in which the diamond is named after, went bankrupt because of the curse. Henry Philip Hope acquired the diamond around 1839. It got passed down from one family member to the next until it reached Lord Francis Hope in the late 1800s. Francis Hope petitioned the court twice to gain permission to sell the diamond. He had gambling debts and a high spending habit. The courts denied his request both times. In 1901, he was finally granted permission. The Hope family going bankrupt was more likely due to Francis Hope's living style than the curse.

The diamond switched hands many times once again, was reset into a new mounting and bought by Evalyn McLean. She considered it her good luck charm and wore it all the time. The concept of the diamond being cursed may have derived from her story. Her son Vinson died in a car crash at the age of nine, her daughter committed suicide when she was twenty-five and her husband was declared insane and was put into an mental institution until he died in 1941. That's a lot for one person to go through. In 1949, two years after her death, the Hope Diamond went on sell to settle debts from her estate. Harry Winston purchased it.

This is our last stop on the curse train, for this post anyways. Winston donated the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institution in 1958. Many believe he did so to rid himself of the curse. The truth is he made the donation to be the focal point of a new gem collection and to inspire others to donate. The Hope Diamond remains on display at the Smithsonian for all to view and admire.

Do you think it's cursed?


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