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The Hope DiamondDownload nowEnlargeShow similar images

Title: The Hope Diamond

Description: The Hope Diamond (45.52 carats; type 11b diamond), which is presently on display at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.; the diamond appears deep blue to the naked eye because of the trace amounts of boron within its crystal structure; the Hope Diamond reportedly carries with it a strange curse that has brought tragedy to its owners; many unconfirmed tales of its origin exist - that it was stolen from the head of a Hindu idol that brought about its eerie curse, that it was stolen from the French Crown Jewels, that it was clandestinely cut from another larger gem, the French Blue - but it is first recorded as being in the possession of Henry Philip Hope in 1839 and was exhibited in London in 1851 and in Paris in 1855; the Hope family endured several bankruptcies in England and its last family member Lord Henry Francis Hope Pelham-Clinton Hope, sold the diamond in 1901 for £29,000 (then about $140,000) to London jeweler Adolph Weil, who sold it to U.S. diamond dealer Simon Frankel, who sold it for $400,000 to Salim Habib in 1908, but it was auctioned off to settle Habib's debts and was acquired in 1910 by French jeweler Pierre Cartier (1878-1964) for 550,000 francs; Cartier sold it to Tom Walsh, owner of a gold mine, and Walsh gave it to his daughter, Evalyn Walsh McLean (1886-1947), as a wedding gift; it was reset by Cartier in a more modern style, surrounded by a series of smaller diamonds (as seen here) and McLean wore the diamond thereafter on almost all social occasions; the so-called "curse" attached to the diamond was reportedly invented by Cartier to intrigue the Walsh-McLean buyers to purchase the gem; many tragedies, however, did accompany its owner in that Evalyn Walsh McLean became a morphine addict, her son Vinson developed epilepsy and was killed in an accident at age nine, and her husband and newspaper heir, Edward Beale McLean (1889-1941), owner of the Washington Post and the Cincinnati Enquirer; became an alcoholic and died in an insane asylum, and both the Walsh and McLean fortunes were lost through lavish spending and profligate lifestyles; New York jeweler Harry Winston (1896-1978) acquired the diamond in 1949 when the McLean estate was sold off at auction and donated the diamond to the Smithsonian Institute in 1958, mailing it to the institution in a plain brown envelope; Winston never believed that any curse was attached to the unique diamond, but many others have advanced and supported that claim, not the least of which was British author P.C. Wren (Percival Christopher Wren; 1875-1941), who profiled the Hope Diamond in his 1924 adventure novel Beau Geste where the treasured family heirloom, a huge diamond called "The Blue Water" disappears from the British country estate, leaving the family destitute and sending three adopted sons into the Foreign Legion, adventure and violent death (filmed as a silent production in 1926, starring Ronald Colman; in 1939 starring Gary Cooper, the best of the movie versions; and in 1966 starring Guy Stockwell); Evalyn Walsh McLean, while attending a party at the White House, put the necklace bearing the Hope Diamond around the neck of her good friends President Warren G. Harding (1865-1923) and his wife, Florence (Florence Mabel Kling DeWolfe Harding; AKA: Flossie; 1860-1924); Harding died inexplicably only a few weeks later while he was on a political junket to San Francisco (his death was never determined, guessed by physicians to be either a stroke or heart attack, no autopsy was performed at the insistence of his wife, who, some claimed, poisoned him to death because Harding had been secretly keeping a mistress, Nan Britton, and had fathered an illegitimate child by her); Florence Harding died a year later (staying at the home of Evalyn Walsh McLean, where she reportedly wore the Hope Diamond up to the time that she developed a terminal kidney ailment).

Category: Jewelry

Keywords: affluent, curses, execrations, diamonds, fashionable society, gems, gentry, gold mines, high social class, high society, jewelry, magic, magnates, millionaires, miners, omens, ornaments, precious stones, profligacy, profligates, rich, rare stones, socialites, spells, spendthrifts, tycoons, wealthy, witchcraft

Orientation: Portrait

Dimensions: 900 x 982 (1.09)

Print Size: 7.6 x 8.3 cm; 3.0 x 3.3 inches

File Size: 2.53 MB (2,654,250 Bytes)

Resolution: 300 x 300 dpi

Color Depth: 16.7 million (24 BitsPerPixel)

Compression: None

Image Number: 0000027002

Source: Jay Robert Nash Collection

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