Updated: Jan 30
The Hope Diamond is one of the most famous jewels in the world, with ownership records dating back almost four centuries. It has the most vibrant rare blue color found in only 0.02% of the entire diamond production and it weighs 45.52 carats.
This masterpiece was recreated by talented Pierre Cartier one of the three brothers of Cartier Mansion. Many spectacular gems were purchased by Cartier and transformed into jewels of legendary beauty.
Harry Winston the “King of Diamonds” was the last one to have it in his hands. The renowned New York jeweler is thought to have owned at least a third of the world’s most famous stones
It is most likely mined in the Kollur mines in southern India, now extinct. The origin is considered a controversy and a mystery. The legend says that the diamond was stolen by Tavernier from the eyes of a statue of a Hindu goddess and was therefore cursed. The curse brings terrible fates the ones that own it or even touch it. Let’s be remained in those times tragic death was ordinary.
French gem merchant and adventurer Jean-Baptiste Tavernier acquired the 112 carats stone in the middle of the 17th century. The piece was named Tavernier Blue then the heart-shaped was sold to King Louis XIV, recut to 67.5 carats and renamed The French Blue. During the reign of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette the stone was stolen from the treasury in the revolution time.The stone disappeared for almost 40 years.
The diamond surfaced in England in the collection of King George IV, upon whose death it was purchased by Lord Philip Hope in 1830, when it assumed its current name The Hope Diamond
Pierre Cartier bought the stone in1910 in Paris for 2.2 million from french dealer Rosenau. Before that, Sultan Hamind of the Ottoman Empire had it and Simon Frankel a diamond dealer.
The original aim of Cartier Mansion:
"We must never lose our current reputation; in other words, we must sell only large jewels"
When Pierre bought it he had already a client in mind who he suspected would be enticed by it, the American heiress Evalyn Walsh McLean. Evalyn was excessively rich and loved jewels , when she was not wearing any jewellery her family was calling in doctors as they were thinking she is becoming very ill.
The Mclean’s did not feel in love with the Blue Gem at the beginning so they left Paris empty-handed.
Pierre knew that Evayln is the perfect client so he shipped the stone to America and changed the setting in oval frame of smaller diamonds to enhanced the mysterious blue. When the McLeans saw it again they liked but it was still uncertainty there. A good sales men like Pierre suggested that Evalyn would take the stone for the night knowing that it was almost impossible to return it.
In Francesca’s Cartier outstanding book Evalyn says:
„ For hours,that jewel stared at me,and at some time during the night I began to really want the thing.Then I put the chain around my neck and hooked my life to its destiny for good or evil.."
The piece was sold for $5 million in 1912 but a legal file was made due to repeated delays for payment. After many delays the family decided to actually buy the necklace and Evalyn goes with the stone it he church for a blessing. She wasn’t sure about the corse but ex wife of Thomas Hope told her to be careful. While the diamond was carefully put on a soft velvet cushion a lightning flashed the church. For Evalyn that was a great sign the course has been lifted and from that day she worn her diamond as a good luck amulet.
With this trade Cartier became a household in New York. Opulence , mysterious curse and many advertising columns in newspapers all creating immediate attraction for everyone’s eye.
During Depression Evalyn was forced to pawn it for a small price $37.500 in a desperate moment to save the house foreclosure. As she was running to take the train from Washington to New York
“I thought I would be shaking the stones out of mu bosom at every step” The Cartier book By Francesca Cartier.
Evalyn's surviving kids sold the diamond to Harry Winston and 9 years later he donated the gem to the Smithsonian for $2.44 in postage and $155 in insurance.
Currently estimated to $350 million and sitting safely at Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC attracting more then seven million visitors a year.
Replicas of the Hope Diamond
Titanic well-known stunning heart shaped blue diamond necklace worn by Rose it is a copy. That’s right a copy, of the real Hope Diamond. The piece in the movie was made with cubic zirconia set in white gold.
The Heart of the Ocean was replicated also with a 171- carat sapphire shaped in a heart surrounded by 103 diamonds set in a platinum necklace for Celine Dion that wore it 1998 at Academy Awards ceremony.