Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Legend of the Hope Diamond

Many families have some amazing pieces of jewelry that they keep in their Chasing Treasure jewelry boxes,
but no one has anything as spectacular as the Hope Diamond. This breathtaking gem has been the source of much speculation as to whether or not the Hope Diamond is cursed. Regardless of the history of the diamond, two things are certain. One, the Hope Diamond is extraordinary jewel and two, the diamond’s story never gets old.

Quality Statistics

Regardless of the numerous stories about the diamond, the statistics of the Hope Diamond are enough to create the sensation attention this diamond has received over the centuries it has been known to the world. The last time that gem was weighed, it was recorded as weighing 45.52 carats. The pear shaped diamond, which is about the size of a walnut is deep blue in color; with a color slightly more grey than a sapphire. Interestingly, the blue diamond shows a red luminescence when it is exposed to ultraviolet light; the red light allows gemologists know what diamonds are real and which ones were lab produced. Some also believe that the red glow is partially to blame for the stories about the curse. The diamond has a clarity rating of VS1 and the cut is an antique cushion brilliant cut with extra facets on the faceted girdle and pavilion.

French Ownership

The Hope Diamond is a piece of a larger 115-carat diamond known as the Tavernier Blue, which supposedly came from a mine in India. A man named Jean Baptiste Tavernier sold the the Tavernier Blue to King Louis XIV in 1669; some believe Louis XIV paid in gold and a title of nobility for the diamond, which at the time was uncut. After owning the diamond for a few years, the King had the diamond cut into a triangular stone approximately 69-carats in size. The diamond was set on a golden pin so the king could wear it to ceremonies.

When Louis XIV died, the diamond was passed on to King Louis XV who had the diamond reset into a pendant surrounded by nearly 200 carats of painted diamonds in the shape of a fleece. When Louis XIV died, the diamond went to Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. During their reign, the crown jewels, including the blue diamond, were stolen and the French Blue (Hope Diamond) disappeared. Shortly after the jewels were stolen, the pair were guillotined, which many believe is due to the curse of the blue diamond.

The Curse of Hope Diamond

Even though there is no proof, the curse originates with the idea that the diamond was a part of a statue of Sita, who was the wife of the seventh Avatar of Vishnu named Rama. Vishnu like to get revenge, so the rumors are that revenge was obtained through the diamond. As the diamond moved the different hands, many of the owners ended up with unfortunate endings. Two owners committed suicide, seven owners were murdered, and other owners were abandoned, left penniless, or ruined.

Currently, the Hope Diamond can be seen in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington D.C., where visitors can enter the museum for free.

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