Photo Credit: Natural History Museum
The Delhi Purple sapphire is another cursed imposter, because it is not a sapphire, it is an amethyst, which is a type of quartz. This mysterious gemstone is rumored to have been stolen by a British solider from the Temple of Indra, the Hindu god of war and weather, in Kanpur, India during the Indian Mutiny of 1857. It was brought to England by Colonel W. Ferris, whose family then suffered many financial and health disasters.
The gemstone was given to Edward Heron-Allen, a scientist and writer, in 1890, who claimed to have started having bad luck immediately after receiving it. He gave the amethyst away to friends, who were also struck with misfortune and quickly returned the gift back to him.
Heron-Allen warned that the Delhi Purple sapphire is “accursed and is stained with the blood, and the dishonor of everyone who has ever owned it.” Wary of its alleged powers, he kept it locked away in seven boxes, each surrounded with good luck charms.
After his death, Heron-Allen’s daughter donated the amethyst to London’s Natural History Museum in 1943. Along with the stone, she gave them a letter that her father wrote cautioning future owners against directly handling it.
The mysterious Delhi Purple sapphire is now permanently on display as part of the London Natural History Museum’s Vault Collection of precious gemstones.
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