Execrable ‘Hope Diamond’

Dhaka, Saturday   04 April 2020


Execrable ‘Hope Diamond’

 Dhrubo Ekramul daily-bangladesh.com

 Published: 11:56 PM, 10 October 2019  

Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

Diamond is known as one of the most precious fundamentals in the earth. Everyone has a desire to have it one day. But, for very few people it becomes possible. But, if the thing is cursed, will you ever own it? Maybe never! Today we will share the story of a cursed diamond, which brought the misfortune for all whoever had owned it. Its name is Hope Diamond, which is accused of a number of deaths. The diamond has changed hands many times, and for a few periods in its life, the name of the owner is lost in history.


The origin of the unique 115-carat blue diamond is India. It was installed as an eye of a Hindu idol. The diamond is believed to have come from the Kollur mine in Golconda, India. In 1653 a French merchant named Jean Baptiste Tavernier stole it from an Indian temple. Going back to his country he sold it to King Louis XIV for a handsome profit. But learnd that, later he was mauled to death by a pack of wild dogs for this sacrilege. Some other says, he was affected by raging fever soon after stealing the diamond, and later, he died, his body was possibly ravaged by wolves.

King Louis XIV and Queen Marie Antoinette, then had to be the victims of the curse. Its name was ‘French Blue’ at that time.  A man named, Nicholas Fouquet worked for King Louis XIV. Once he had worn the diamond for a special occasion. Shortly thereafter, he fell out of favor with the king and was banished from France. The king then changed this sentence to life imprisonment, so Fouquet spent 15 years in the fortress of Pignerol. Some people believe that he was the real Man in the Iron Mask, but other accounts dispute this.


King Louis had also died of gangrene and all of his legitimate children died in childhood, except one.

Marie-Louise, Princess de Lamballe, was a member of Marie Antoinette's court and was her closest confidante. She was killed by a mob in a most horrific fashion—apparently hit with a hammer, decapitated, stripped, and disemboweled, among other things. Her head was impaled on a pike and carried to Marie Antoinette's prison window.


In 1792, during the French Revolution, the diamond had stolen again from the house that stored the crown jewels. Then it was cut into three smaller pieces. Dutch jeweler Wilhelm Fals who cut the diamond was murdered by his son and later the son also committed suicide.


Greek merchant Simon Maoncharides owned the diamond. He drove his car over a cliff and killed himself, his wife, and his child.

In 1839, a piece of diamond was acquired by Henry Thomas Hope, later it got its name of ‘Hope Diamond’. The Hope family is said to have been tainted with the diamond's curse. According to the legend, the once-rich Hopes went bankrupt because of the Hope diamond. Henry Philip Hope was one of the heirs of the banking firm Hope & Co. which was sold in 1813. Henry Philip Hope became a collector of fine art and gems, thus he acquired the large blue diamond that was soon to carry his family's name.

Since he had never married, Henry Philip Hope left his estate to his three nephews when he died in 1839. The Hope diamond went to the oldest of the nephews, Henry Thomas Hope. Henry Thomas Hope married and had one daughter; his daughter soon grew up, married and had five children. When Henry Thomas Hope died in 1862 at the age of 54, the Hope diamond stayed in the possession of Hope's widow. But when Henry Thomas Hope's widow died, she passed the Hope diamond on to her grandson, the second oldest son, Lord Francis Hope.


Because of gambling and high spending, Francis Hope requested from the court in 1898 for him to sell the Hope diamond (Francis was only given access to the life interest on his grandmother's estate). His request was denied.

In 1899, an appeal case was heard and again his request was denied. In both cases, Francis Hope's siblings opposed selling the diamond. In 1901, on an appeal to the House of Lords, Francis Hope was finally granted permission to sell the diamond. As for the curse, three generations of Hopes went untainted by the curse and it was most likely Francis Hope's gambling, rather than the curse, that caused his bankruptcy.

When the Hope diamond went on sale in 1949, it was bought by Harry Winston, a New York jeweler. Winston offered the diamond, on numerous occasions, to be worn at balls to raise money for charity.

The Hope diamond is currently displayed at National Gem and Mineral Collection in the National Museum of Natural History in USA since 1958.