Photo Credits: Chip Clark – Smithsonian Institution
At 45.52 carats, the grayish/blue Hope Diamond is 1 inch in length and 0.8 inch in width. The story of the Hope Diamond begins when it was unearthed in the Kollur mine at Golconda, India. This diamond was acquired by French jeweler and gem merchant, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier while he was in India.
In 1668 Tavernier sold it to Louis XIV. At that point, the diamond weighed 116 carats and was called the Tavernier Blue. King Louis XIV later had the diamond re-cut into the 68 carat French Blue and had it set as a hatpin. The diamond was reset by Louis XV into The Medal of The Order of the Golden Fleece, which was stolen in 1792 along with other Royal jewels during the looting of the French Royal Treasury. The French Blue was re-cut and showed up in London 30 years later as a 45.52-carat Diamond owned by King George IV of England. It was sold after the King’s death in 1830 to help settle his enormous debts. The diamond was then likely sold through private channels and was purchased by Henry Philip Hope, from whom it got its name. It was passed down to Hope’s family members until it was ultimately sold to help pay off their debts.
The Hope Diamond was then bought by a London dealer, who quickly sold it to Joseph Frankels and Sons of New York City, who retained the diamond until they too had to sell it to cover debts. In 1909, Pierre Cartier bought the Hope Diamond and sold it to Evalyn
Walsh McLean, an American mining heiress and socialite.
McLean had many misfortunes, her son died in a car accident, her daughter died of a drug overdose, her husband died in a sanitarium and her family was forced to sell their newspaper, the Washington Post, in a bankruptcy auction. After McLean’s death from pneumonia in 1947, Harry Winston Inc. purchased her entire jewelry collection.
In 1958, Winston donated the iconic Hope Diamond in 1958 to the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., where it resides on display to this day. The Hope Diamond has been estimated to be worth a quarter of a billion dollars at the time.
When exposed to ultraviolet light, it phosphoresces RED for several minutes after the light
is turned off. Over the years, many people have brought in smaller stones thinking they might have been part of the French Blue parent stone, but none has shown the same degree of RED phosphorescence.
The Smithsonian museum states on its website, that it “appears to have maintained the Hope Diamond curse-free”. Or has it?
As a Federal Government institution the Smithsonian is part of the US Debt which is 19 Trillion Dollars!
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