Hope Diamond

If you are visiting Washington, you’re welcome to visit the Smithsonian Museum, where a very rare diamond in navy blue color and weight of 45.52 carats is presented. This is Hope Diamond. Like many other diamonds, the recorded history of this diamond starts in the 17th century in India, when the diamond owned by a French merchant called Tavernier, who brought it to France in its gross form. Its exact weight is unknown. According to what Tavernier wrote in his diaries, he sold gems to the French king, Louis XIV. Probably between the gems, there was a diamond that called Tavernier Diamond. The diamond sold to the king when it was not polished but in a rough cut, triangular cut.

In 1678, the French king instructed his slaves to polish the diamond. The royal jeweler created for the king a polished diamond in weight of 67.12 carats that assigned to a golden pin, that the king wore during ceremonies. After Louis XIV died, his successor Louis XV had other plans, and he asked to assign it in a special decoration he will wear. It was a complicated jewelry that included other gems – 83 red diamonds, 12 yellow diamonds and a red spinel in weight of 107 carats. Later, this decoration owned by Louis XVI and the blue diamond was still assigned to it. In 1787 this diamond removed for a short time, in order to do some scientific tests.

For those who don’t know the French history, we can tell that Louis XVI was a king during the French Revolution and he sent to the guillotine with his wife, Marie Antoinette. Even at the early times of the revolution, the royal jewels have been stolen and the blue diamond was between of them. After the theft, it seemed that France lost its famous blue diamond.

20 years have been passed, until a blue gem weighs 45.54 carats recorded in London, in the ownership of a British diamonds merchant called Daniel Elison. At this time, 20 years was the aging period of a theft, and this is an evidence that the gem has been stolen from France. The gem wasn’t compatible in its size and form to the blue diamond of France king, but some signs showed that the gem had a negligent cut. This speculation remained a mystery until a lead model of the blue diamond has been discovered in French archives. With this model, and with a computer simulation, the researchers confirmed the conjecture that Hope Diamond cut from the blue diamond of France king.

This study took place much later, but let’s return to England of the 19th century. The adventures of the diamond are unknown completely, but the diamond was probably owned by the Royal British Family until it was sold to an English banker called Thomas Hope, and this is the origin of the name. The diamond inherited from generation to generation in the family of Hope, until it was got to the hands of Francis Hope under limited inheritance terms that didn’t let him sell the diamond without the permission of the court. But Francis Hope who was a big spender got permission from the court to sell this diamond in order to cover his debts. The diamond has been sold to a diamonds merchant called Adolf Will for £29,000.

After the sale, the diamond continued to change owners. Firstly, it was sold to Simon Frenkel who took it to New York. Then he sold it to Turkish collector called Salomon Haviv who probably bought it in the name of the Turkish Sultan, but after a short time, the diamond sold again. According to the reporter, the diamond sold in Paris to someone who sold it to Pierre Cartier, from the famous jewelers’ family. Cartier re-designed the diamond and sold it to the American girl Avellin Welsh. After her death, the diamond sold again to Harry Winston who donated it to the Smithsonian Museum, where it’s presented today.


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