The Hope Diamond

The history of the gem known as the Hope Diamond dates back to the 1600s when a French traveler in India purchased a large blue diamond. The merchant sold this diamond and others to King Louis XIV in 1668, and in 1673 the diamond was cut down into a smaller size. It was known as the Blue Diamond of the Crown. The King wore this diamond as a necklace during special events. In 1749 the diamond was once again cut down and reset by Louis XV. In 1792 the crown jewels were stolen and the diamond disappeared.

In 1812 the diamond appeared again and was sold to King George IV, but it disappeared again following his death in 1830. No one knows what happened to the diamond, but Henry Philip Hope later acquired the gem and passed it to his nephew, who passed it to his grandson Lord Francis Hope. Hope sold the diamond to pay his debts and Joseph Frankels and Sons purchased it. The diamond then moved to Selim Habib, C.H. Rosenau, and Pierre Cartier.

Cartier had a customer, Evelyn Walsh McLean, who loved the diamond, but wanted it changed. He added a setting of small white diamonds around the outside and turned it into a headpiece. Later he would change the diamond into a pendant and McLean owned it until 1947. Following her death, Harry Winston purchased the diamond and sent it out on exhibits around the world. In 1958 he donated the stone to the Smithsonian Institute.

The Hope Diamond has only left the Smithsonian Institute four times since its donation. In 1962 it was sent to the Louvre for a special exhibit and Harry Winston acquired the gem for part of their 50th anniversary in 1984. In 1965 it was part of a special exhibit in South Africa and in 1996 the Smithsonian sent the Hope Diamond to Harry Winston for a small amount of restoration work and cleaning. A gem this precious requires far more care than the average diamond ring or sterling silver jewelry.

Resources about the Hope Diamond include:
Hope Diamond Originally Came From French Crown: traces the work scientists did to discover the origins of the diamond.
DC Photo Gallery: shows images of the diamond taken from different angles.
Treasures of the World: explains the supposed curse on the diamond.
The Legend Behind the Hope Diamond: gives insight into the cursed history and superstitions regarding the gem.
The Hope: offers a history of the diamond along with photographs.
The Hope Diamond: provides photographs of the famous diamond.
The Story of the Hope Diamond: gives a long history of the diamond and its origins.
The Curse of the Hope Diamond: offers more information on the legends surrounding the gem.
The Notorious Hope Diamond: provides a history of the gem and how it connects to the old superstitions.
Hope Diamond: offers a long history and overview of the diamond.
The Hope Diamond: offers a history and information on the diamond including photographs.
The Hope Blue: older book that describes the history of the stone.

The Hope Diamond is the most famous colored diamond in the world. It is far more coveted than your average gold or silver jewelry. Its blue-gray color makes it highly unique and it also has a reddish tint due to the amount of boron found inside. It’s measured at 45.52 carats, which was proven in 1988. It measures 1 inch by 7/8 inch by 15/32 inch. It’s currently on permanent display at the Smithsonian Institute.