In the Loupe: The Curse Of The Hope Diamond

Since it’s discovery in the 1660’s in India, the Hope Diamond has been cut, re-cut, stolen, and has been blamed for numerous deaths. It was originally sold to King Louis XIV of France at 112 carats. Soon after, the original seller was mauled by dogs, beginning the curse. King Louis had the stone re-cut into a 67 carat heart shape and passed it on to his son, Louis XV, and his grandson, Louis XVI, under the name “the French Blue.” His son faced an assassination attempt and the princess who wore it at the time, Princess de Lambelle, was beaten to death. His grandson, Louis XVI, and Marie Antoinette were beheaded after taking ownership of the French Blue- becoming the only King of France to be executed. Around this time the French Revolution began and the Royal Treasury was looted, which housed the diamond.

Twenty years and two days after reported missing, diamond merchant Daniel Eliason, who later committed suicide, documented having a 44 carat blue diamond, the previous French Blue. French law at the time stated that crimes committed during the Revolution could be prosecuted for up to 20 years after it ended, making Eliason the legal owner.

Over the next sixty years, the diamond changed hands and cursed it’s many owners. One owner, King George IV, narrowly avoided death when a bomb exploded in his backyard. He also suffered many health issues and even had a lung removed. Lord Francis Hope, the source of the name “the Hope Diamond,” went bankrupt and was forced to sell the diamond. Jaques Colet committed suicide, Ivan Kannitovitsky was murdered by revolutionists, and Subaya, who was gifted the stone, was murdered by the man who gifted it to her. Even two jewelers who made contact with the diamond were both killed in murder-suicides.

In France in the early 1900s, Pierre Castier showed the diamond to Evelyn Walsh McLean, who disliked the setting and returned to Washington without it. Pierre put the Hope Diamond into a new setting and traveled to Washington in attempt to sell it again. Evelyn purchased it for $180,000, bringing the curse onto her family. Her son died in a crash, her daughter committed suicide, her husband was declared legally insane, and she became addicted to morphine.

Since Evelyn, the Hope Diamond’s curse has been dormant. It is currently owned by the Smithsonian Institute and is on display at the National Museum of Natural History.