The Hope Diamond is a blue diamond of 45 carats, preserved at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC, is definitely a diamond particular, whose blue color is given by the infiltration of boron, and presenting reflections scarlati under UV light. It is classified as type IIb, and has a history very adventurous.
Its origins are, as often happens, shrouded in mystery. Legend has it that has been snatched from the eye of a Hindu sculpture (namely, the sixth Avatar of Vishnu). His first course was the precursor Tavernier Blue, a diamond of 115 carats brought to Europe by Jean Tavernier, French navigator. According to historian Richard kurin, Tavernier would have acquired in 1653 in India, the Kollur mine in Gontur, but not if it is certain.
In 1669, Tavernier sold the diamond with a thousand other stones at the Sun King, Louis XIV, for the reward of 220,000 livres, enormous (the equivalent were 147 kg of gold). In 1678, Louis XIV commissioned the jeweler to the court, Pitau, to cut back the gem, turning it into a stone of 67 carats, which was later set into a tie pins. From this moment on will be the Blue Diamond of the Crown or, as it was dubbed later, the French Blue. In 1749, Louis XV had the stone re-embedded in a pending more beautiful and elaborate, but was lost after his death. Legend has it that it was the neck of Marie Antoinette during the beheading, but is probably a rumor: is true that Marie Antoinette took many crown jewels of the French Royal and had them re-embedded to fit into them, but apparently never touches the French Blue, who in 1787 was still in its pending, as shown by scientific studies performed on it by Mathurin Brusson.
In 1792, while the royal family is confined at the Tuileries, thieves break into the palace of Garde-Meuble, i.e. the actual store and steal a large number of jewelry that belonged to the Crown. Many of these will then be recovered, including dives pieces of finery of the French Blue, but not the mysterious jewel, which disappears from history for so many years. According to some historians, one of the robbers, that Guillot, had it cut in London and sold it there, but could not place the other pieces, then tried to sell in France, where they were recognized and put him in prison. According to another historian, however, theft is at the center of a complex plot hatched by George Danton himself to corrupt the military command that threatened Austria and France and, implicitly, the revolution. Danton would have to pay for the theft that is used so that the military not to attack France, the riots; in particular, the French Blue would come into the hands of the Duke of Brunswick, commander of the Austrian troops, who then in 1805, under the attack of Napoleon had it cut to avoid that, if captured, the jewel could be recognized and accused him of theft. The family of Brunswick had since emigrated to London, to reach her daughter Carolina, who would soon marry the Prince Regent George (later George IV).
What is certain is that from here on the diamond is the shape and the name of the Hope Diamond, and his story continues from 1812 to London, where he is in the hands of Daniel Eliason, an English merchant, who sells King George IV (according to Richard kurin, sells it in the sense that Catherine of Brunswick, who often quarreled with her husband, she was liberated by necessity, since often the king left destitute, and then the king has regained the jewel ). On the death of George IV, the jewel disappears for a few years: it seems that some of his belongings have been stolen from one of his mistresses, Lady Conyngham; other jewels were then cleared with discretion to cover the many debts that the king had left behind himself. The blue diamond then reappeared in 1839 in a catalog of the collection of Philip Hope, a major Anglo-Dutch banker, who occasionally gave him the daughter, widow to the dances in the company. That same year, however, Hope is missing and three grandchildren, sole heir, began a bitter battle over the inheritance, ended 10 years later with the division of property of the father. The blue diamond, along with 9 other precious gems, is inherited by the oldest grandchild, Henry Hope, who introduced him to several Universal Exhibitions in London and Paris, but kept mostly closed in the bank. Hope died in 1862 and his wife Anna, fearing the lifestyle of the prodigal son, who arranged his death, then in 1884, all properties falling into a small inheritance to his nephew, Francis, but only if I changed my surname to the achievement of age. Addition, the inheritance would have only an annuity, and could not sell the Hope Diamond until after the consent of the court.
Francis lived a life beyond their means, following in the footsteps of his father married an American dancer, who claimed to have worn the blue diamond several times during the dance company (a fact later denied by her husband); in 1896 goes into bankruptcy, but the court will allow him to sell the jewelry until 1901, the figure of 26,000 pounds: a real sell-off, if you think that only in 1908 that was bought back by a merchant, probably on behalf of the Sultan of Turkey Selim Habib, for 400,000 pounds. The jewel, however, was sold again, this time in an auction, to pay the debts of the merchant in question. To you owned it then Pierre Cartier, who bought it for 550,000 francs. His skill as a seller, and a new modern bezel, allowed him to sell the jewels to the rich heiress Evalyn McLean, very famous at that time in the United States, being friends with other first lady and having had an affair with a man involved in the kidnapping of the son of Lindbergh. The woman made a display of jewelry in various public occasions, and his death in 1947, he gave it to his nephew, but sold it to the merchant Harry Winston jewels just two years later, to avoid bankruptcy. Winston organized an exhibition that included the Hope Diamond but other gems like the famous Indian Briolette and went around the United States to show the public; after which he decided to give the jewel to the Smithsonian Institute, which still has.
The “curse” of the blue diamond is probably a myth invented by its many owners to better sell the item, given the intrinsic value, was not a subject that anyone could buy: Cartier is that McLean invented stories, probably false, the various owners of jewelry and their sad fate among the “owners” invented, there would be Marie Antoinette, Marat, and Catherine of Russia. It is certain that many of its possessors died a violent death, or face misfortune such as debt and bankruptcy; but it is also true that most attracted dall'Hope generally buyers were people willing to spend huge figures to make sure you, and if this is an indication of their style of life, then bankruptcy is often inevitable.