The Hope Diamond Curse

They say the gemstone is cursed.

The Hope Diamond Curse one of the most well-known modern stories of an object supposedly bringing misfortune to nearly everyone it touches.

hope diamond

Is this diamond cursed? Its history is shrouded with tragedies and folklore.

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.

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.

Then came a long chronology of tragedies:

  • 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, only to show up in London, where it was bought by banker Henry Thomas Hope. 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. The prince himself was stabbed to death by revolutionaries.
  • 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 diamond was then sold to the Maclean family. The curse hit this family hard: the patriarch’s mother died soon after he took possession of the gem, two servants died, the 10-year-old son was run over by a car, the daughter committed suicide, and the mother died a raging alcoholic.

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

Like the alleged curse of King Tutankhamen, 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.

Hope Diamond” Wikipedia, pulled 12/18/12
Mammoth Encyclopedia of the Unsolved

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Doug MacGowan

Doug MacGowan lives on the San Francisco peninsula with his wife, a dog, and far too many cats. He has published five books on the topic of historic true crime. In his free time he enjoys reading.

Historic Mysteries