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Hope Diamond Curse: Fact or Fiction?

by Doug MacGowan

The Hope Diamond is a large and rare gemstone believed to have come from India around 1666. Experts estimate the age of the stone to be 1.1 billion years old. Small amounts of boron molecules embedded in its structure have given the diamond an unusual blue color. Since the Victorian Era, stories of a Hope Diamond curse has circulated. Then in the early 20th century, a legend developed that says the gem was originally stolen from the statue of the goddess Sita, the Avatar of Vishnu, and that since then, the gem has brought death and misfortune to its owners.

hope diamond curse

Legends about the Hope Diamond curse have circulated since the Victorian Era.

Truth Mixed With Fiction

The truth is, it is now difficult to separate the fact from the fiction surrounding this infamous diamond. All kinds of unrelated lore have been plastered onto the gemstone’s reputation over the years. Some researchers claim that a string of people possessing the diamond encountered various tragedies, while other historians claim the dire stories are just that: stories.

In all fairness, it should be noted that some of the diamond’s owners did not experience any bad luck while possessing the gem.

Gem Origin

The start of the diamond’s history goes back to the 1660s when a French merchant sold an astonishingly large diamond to King Louis XIV. Legend states that the merchant stole the gemstone from a sacred temple in India. The natives, after they discovered the theft, placed a curse on anyone who owned the gem.

King Louis XIV acquired the Hope Diamond in 1668.

King Louis XIV acquired the Hope Diamond in 1668.

Tragedies of the Hope Diamond Curse

  • King Louis XIV gave the diamond to a mistress, but then he cruelly abandoned her.
  • The gem eventually passed into the hands of Louis XVI and his queen Marie Antoinette, both of whom were later beheaded.
  • It vanished for a while and later showed up in London, where banker Henry Thomas Hope purchased it. Hope was one of the few who apparently escaped the curse, although he did lend his name to the gemstone.
  • A Russian prince obtained the diamond, lent it to a French actress, and soon after fatally shot her. Revolutionaries stabbed the prince to death.
  • There then followed ownership, in quick succession, by a Greek jeweler who fell off a cliff; a sultan who went insane; and a man named Habib Bey, who drowned.
  • The Macleans then purchased the diamond, and the curse hit this family hard. Soon after the patriarch took possession of the gem, his mother died. Two servants died. A car ran over the 10-year-old son. The daughter committed suicide, and the mother died from alcoholism.

Home at the Smithsonian Institution

In 1958, the gemstone passed into the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, where it resides to this day. There have not been any incidents recorded pertaining to the Hope Diamond curse since entering the museum’s collection.

Like the alleged curse of King Tutankhamun, skeptics and believers will probably continue to argue about whether or not this gemstone harbors a curse that has plagued its owners since its original discovery.

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