Is the Worlds Largest Diamond Cursed?

Legend has it the curse befell the 45.52-carat Hope Diamond, the world’s largest deep blue diamond when it was stolen from from the forehead (or eye) of a statue of the Hindu goddess Sita. The thief, a man named Tavernier, is said to have been torn apart by wild dogs on a trip to Russia after he sold the diamond.

In 1642, a man named Jean Baptiste Tavernier, a French jeweler visited India and bought a 112 3/16 carat blue diamond (the Hope diamond was much larger than it is today because the Hope has been cut down at least twice in the past three centuries).

Twenty-six years after Tavernier bought the diamond, french King Louis XIV ordered him at court. Louis XIV bought the large, blue diamond from him along with many other jewels and diamonds.

In 1673, King Louis XIV re-cut the diamond to enhance its brilliance, officially naming it the "Blue Diamond of the Crown" and would often wear the diamond on a long ribbon around his neck. In 1749, Louis XIV's great-grandson, Louis XV, was king and ordered the crown jeweler to make a decoration for the Order of the Golden Fleece.

When Louis XV died, his grandson, Louis XVI, became king with Marie Antoinette as his queen. After King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette attempted to flee France in 1791 during the French Revolution, the diamond was turned over to the French government. According to the legend, Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI were beheaded during the French Revolution because of the blue diamond's curse.

The next year it was stolen. It wasn’t until 1812 in London that the diamond appeared again. It wasn’t until 1812 in London that the diamond appeared again. It passed through several owners before an American heiress named Mrs. Evalyn Walsh McLean brought it to the United States. She added its current setting—it is now surrounded by 16 white diamonds and hangs on a chain of 45 diamonds.

After Mrs. McLean died, jeweler Harry Winston bought the diamond and donated it to the Smithsonian. And how did he send it? Winston simply placed the priceless diamond in a plain brown paper wrapper and sent it by registered first-class mail. He said, “It’s the safest way to mail gems. I’ve sent gems all over the world that way."

Today the Hope Diamond is one of the most visited museum objects in the world. And is it really cursed? Most curators don’t believe so. In fact, the Smithsonian has always looked at the Hope Diamond as a source of good luck!