A Rather Unusual Diamond Anniversary
60 years ago, this month, on 10th November, the Smithsonian Museum in Washington acquired the Hope Diamond. The 45.52 carat Hope Diamond is one of the most famous jewels in the world, with ownership records dating back nearly four centuries
The jewel is believed to have originated in India, where the original (larger) stone was purchased in 1666 by the French gem merchant Jean-Baptiste Tavernier and was then known as the Tavernier Blue. The Tavernier Blue was re-cut and yielded the French Blue, which Tavernier sold to King Louis XIV in 1668. It disappeared during the French Revolution when the Royal Storehouse was ransacked.
A blue diamond with the same shape, size, and colour as the French Blue appeared in 1812, almost exactly 20 years after it had gone missing. The significance of this was that the statute of limitations had then expired, and no one could be prosecuted for the theft.
In 1839 it was purchased by the Hope family from whom it derives its name. It had several other owners but was finally purchased by Harry Winston who presented it to the National Museum of Natural History in Washington in 1958, where it remains on display today.
It was last reported to be insured for $250 million.