The Legend of the Hope Diamond
The Hope Diamond has intrigued the world for centuries. Its large size (45.52ct), rare dark blue colour and flawless clarity and beauty make it truly spellbinding. With a history that spans well over three centuries, the Hope Diamond has had many owners and settings including a theft, a stint in the French Crown Jewels, two re-cuttings, an English King, a wealthy American socialite, and plenty of mystery surrounding a curse.
Widely considered to be the most famous diamond in the world, the Hope Diamond is believed to have been discovered centuries ago in the southern region of India. It was reputedly used to adorn the forehead (or eye) of a statue of the Hindu goddess Sita. According to the legend, it was stolen from the statue several centuries ago, and this was the start of the fabled curse, which foretold bad luck and death not only for the owner, but for all who touched it.
The first owners
French merchant Jean Baptiste Tavernier, a 17th century French merchant, was the first recorded owner of the Hope Diamond.
In 1642, the famous Blue Tavernier Diamond from Europe was in the hands of King Louis XIV who had it cut to bring out its brilliance and set in gold so that he could wear it as a necklace for formal occasions. The diamond was passed down in the royal family until the eighteenth-century French revolution. In 1791, it was turned over to the French government along with many of the other royal jewels. Its previous owners, King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette, were later beheaded, likely contributing to the story that the Hope Diamond bestows a horrible fate on its owners.
Visit the Cape Town Diamond Museum to see a life-size replica of the famous Hope Diamond.
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