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Article: Hope Diamond

Hope Diamond

Classification and Physical Properties of the Hope Diamond

  • The Hope Diamond is a large, 45.52-carat diamond.
  • It is studded in a pendant called the Toison d'or.
  • It is currently housed in the National Gem and Mineral collection at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
  • The diamond is classified as a type IIb diamond.
  • The Hope Diamond has been described as the most famous diamond in the world.
  • The diamond weighs 45.52 carats.
  • It is pear-shaped, comparable in size and shape to a pigeon egg or a walnut.
  • The color of the diamond is described as a fancy dark greyish-blue or dark blue.
  • The stone exhibits a red phosphorescence under ultraviolet light.
  • Its clarity is determined to be VS1, with whitish graining present.

History and Geological Beginnings of the Hope Diamond

  • The Hope Diamond was formed approximately 1.1 billion years ago.
  • It was originally embedded in kimberlite and later extracted and refined.
  • The diamond originated in the Kollur mine in India in the 17th century.
  • French gem merchant Jean-Baptiste Tavernier purchased it in 1666.
  • It has changed hands numerous times before being donated to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
  • The Hope Diamond was formed deep within the Earth when carbon atoms formed strong bonds.
  • The diamond contains trace amounts of boron atoms, resulting in its rare blue color.
  • The gem provides vital insights into the formation of diamonds.
  • The Hope Diamond is not only a historic gem but also a rare scientific specimen.
  • The diamond is believed to have originated in the Kollur mine in India.
  • Jean-Baptiste Tavernier obtained the gem in India in 1666.

Transformation and Ownership of the French Blue Diamond

  • The French Blue diamond was stolen just as the statute of limitations for the crime had taken effect.
  • There were questions about whether the diamond in Great Britain was the same one that belonged to the French kings.
  • Scientific investigation in 2008 confirmed that the Hope Diamond and the diamond owned by the kings of France were the same.
  • It is speculated that George IV of the United Kingdom may have acquired the diamond, possibly with the help of his wife Caroline of Brunswick.
  • The Hope Diamond was acquired by Thomas Hope, a London banker, for either $65,000 or $90,000.
  • Thomas Hope's brother, Henry Philip Hope, published a catalog of his gem collection in 1839, which included the Hope Diamond.
  • The stone was set in a medallion surrounded by smaller white diamonds and came to be known as the Hope Diamond.
  • Henry Thomas Hope, the oldest nephew of Henry Philip Hope, received the Hope Diamond as part of his inheritance.
  • Anne Adele, wife of Henry Thomas Hope, inherited the Hope Diamond upon his death.
  • She entrusted the diamond to her younger son, Henry Francis Pelham-Clinton, on the condition that he add the name Hope to his own surnames.
  • Lord Francis Hope, as he was now known, had only a life interest in the diamond and could not sell it without court permission.
  • Lord Francis Hope eventually had to sell the diamond due to financial troubles and permission was granted by the court.
  • Lord Francis Hope sold the diamond to Adolph Weil, a London jewel merchant, for £29,000.
  • Weil then sold the diamond to diamond dealer Simon Frankel, who took it to New York.
  • The diamond remained in the possession of the Frankel jewelry firm during the years 1902-1907.
  • Frankel sold the diamond to Salomon or Selim Habib, a wealthy Turkish diamond collector.
  • The stone was reportedly sold on behalf of Sultan Abdulhamid of the Ottoman Empire.
  • Accounts vary about the ownership of the diamond during the years 1902-1907, with some suggesting it remained with the Frankel jewelry firm.
  • The Frankel business faced financial difficulties during the depression of 1907 and referred to the diamond as the 'hoodoo diamond.'
  • In 1908, the diamond was sold by Frankel to Salomon or Selim Habib for $400,000.
  • There were reports of ill-fortune for several owners of the diamond during this time.
  • The diamond was included in an auction of Habib's collection on June 24, 1909.

The French Blue and its Transformation into the Hope Diamond

  • Diamond discovered during one of five voyages to India between 1640 and 1667
  • Sold to King Louis XIV of France for 220,000 livres in 1669
  • Theory suggests patent of nobility granted to Tavernier was part of the payment
  • Controversy regarding the actual weight of the stone, possibly 115.28 metric carats
  • Diamond became known as the French Blue
  • Louis XIV commissioned the court jeweler to recut the Tavernier Blue in 1678
  • Resulted in a 67.125-carat stone known as the Blue Diamond of the Crown of France
  • Set in a cravat-pin worn by the king during ceremonies
  • Louis XV had the French Blue set into a jeweled pendant for the Order of the Golden Fleece
  • Pendant included a red spinel and numerous painted diamonds
  • In 1792, thieves broke into the Royal Storehouse and stole most of the Crown Jewels
  • French Blue was not recovered and disappeared from history
  • Marie Antoinette had never worn the Golden Fleece pendant
  • Likely scenario is that the French Blue was smuggled to London
  • French Blue was recut during this period, with the largest remaining piece becoming the Hope Diamond
  • One report suggests the cut of the French Blue was a butchered job
  • Confirmation that the Hope Diamond was cut from the French Blue came from a rediscovered leaden model
  • The French Blue was recut, resulting in the loss of its original bar

Hope Diamond Data Sources

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