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The hope diamond has an infamous reputation, as it was said to curse many people that owned it. Supposedly in 1642 a man named Jean Baptiste Tavernier, a French jeweler, visited India and bought a 112 3/16 carat blue diamond. The gemstone purchased by Tavernier had come from the Kollur mine in Golconda India. Tavernier returned to France in 1668, where word had spread about his big blue diamond. King Louis XIV of France ordered Tavernier to come before his court, and Louis XIV bought the Hope diamond along with forty-four other large diamonds. Apparently, Tavernier made into a French noble and died a mysterious death at the age of 84. Although his death is not commonly associated with the Hope diamond, the mystery surrounding his death makes many believe that it was the result of a curse.

King Louis XIV wore the Hope diamond on special occasions, and the diamond became known as the “Blue Diamond of the Crown,” and was worn on a long ribbon around his neck. The diamond had been re-cut to enhance its brilliance, and the diamond was cut down to 67 1/8-carats. The Hope diamond was passed down to the next king of France, King Louis XV. Apparently, the curse of the Hope diamond caused King Louis XV and his wife Marie Antoinette to suffer many hardships and it is said that the curse of the diamond caused their beheading during the French Revolution. During the French Revolution the infamous diamond was stolen when King Louis XV and Marie Antoinette tried to flee France in 1791. According to its legend, the diamond was acquired by King George IV of England, but sold after his death due to large debts.

For years, the exact location of the diamond was unknown, until it turned up in 1839 in the possession of Henry Thomas Hope from which the diamond got its famous name. His uncle Henry Philip Hope, who was one of the heirs of the banking firm Hope & Company, had passed down the diamond. Henry Philip Hope bought the blue diamond in 1813, and gave it his family name. The diamond was then passed on to Henry Thomas Hope’s widow, then on to their grandson, who fought the courts in order to sell the diamond. Lord Francis Hope the Grandson of Henry Thomas Hope was finally granted permission to sell the diamond in 1901.

According to the legend, three generations of the Hope family were untouched by the curse of the Hope diamond, but the family was completely bankrupt upon the death of Lord Francis Hope. However, it is speculated that the family was bankrupt, because Francis Hope had a terrible gambling habit. Simon Frankel, an American jeweler bought the Hope diamond from Lord Francis Hope, and brought the diamond to the United States. The diamond was sold several times over the next decade, and eventually ended in the hand of Pierre Cartier. Cartier sold the diamond to Evelyn Walsh McLean in 1911. Apparently, Cartier tried to convince McLean not to buy the diamond, but she insisted that anything that was considered bad luck eventually became good luck for her. McLean later purchased the Hope diamond, when Cartier had it set in a new mounting. However, the curse did not elude the McLean family.

McLean wore the diamond as a good luck son, but her firstborn son died in a car crash at the age of nine, her daughter committed suicide at the age of 25, and her husband was declared insane and confined to an institution until his death. The diamond was sold again in 1949, two years after McLean’s death, to settle the debts of her estate. The Hope diamond was eventually donated to the Smithsonian. It’s difficult to conclude whether or not the Hope Diamond is cursed, but a wise observer might say there is a connection between the curse and families. Throughout its various owners, the Hope diamond has seemingly only bought bad luck to families. However, it is hard to believe that such a beautiful diamond could possibly be cursed.

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