World's Largest Diamonds - The Blue Hope | Jordan Bass Jewelry
The Hope Diamond is a large, 45.52-carat, deep blue diamond, currently housed in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in the U.S. capital, Washington, D.C.. The diamond is legendary for the curse it supposedly puts on whoever possesses it. The Hope Diamond appears to be a brilliant blue to the naked eye because of trace amounts of boron within the diamond. The Hope Diamond exhibits red phosphoresence under ultraviolet light and is classified as a Type IIb diamond.
The Hope Diamond originates from the Tavernier Blue, which was originally mined at the Kollur mine in Guntur district Andhra Pradesh, India which at that time was a part of the Golconda kingdom. It was a crudely cut triangular shaped stone of 115 carats (22.44 g). French merchant-traveler Jean-Baptiste Tavernier purchased it sometime in 1660 or 1661. According to "legend", the Tavernier Blue had been stolen from an eye of a sculpted idol of the Hindu goddess Sita, the wife of Rama, the Seventh Avatara of Vishnu -- however, much like the "curse of Tutankhamun", this "legend" was unknown before it was used as a plot device in some early 20th century novels and a 1921 movie. In 1668, Tavernier sold the diamond to King Louis XIV of France. Sieur Pitau, the court jeweller, cut it and produced a 67 1/8 carat (13.4 g) stone.
The stone became known as the Blue Diamond of the Crown or the French Blue. It was set in gold and suspended on a neck ribbon for the King to wear on ceremonial occasions. In 1749, King Louis XV had it set on his pendant for the Order of the Golden Fleece. After his death, it fell into disuse. When Louis XVI of France became king, he gave the diamond to Marie Antoinette to add to her collection of jewelry. During the French Revolution, while Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were held in prison, the pendant with the diamond was stolen on September 11, 1792, when six men broke into the house used to store the crown jewels. It is believed that one of the robbers was a cadet Guillot, who took it to Le Havre along with the Gôte de Bretagne spinel and then to London where he tried to sell the jewels.
In 1796, apparently seriously in debt, the story goes that he handed the gem to Lancry de la Loyelle, who had Guillot put into prison for his trouble. There is no record of what had happened to the diamond after that. The Hope diamond was recorded in the possession of a London diamond merchant Daniel Eliason in September 1812, which marks the earliest point that the exact history of the Hope Diamond can be definitively fixed. This diamond was generally believed to have been cut from the French Blue, a fact which was finally verified in 2005. It is often pointed out that the Hope Diamond came into recorded history almost exactly 20 years after the theft of the French Blue, just as the statute of limitations for the crime had expired. It is believed that it may have been acquired by King George IV of the United Kingdom, although there is no record of the ownership in the Royal Archives at Windsor.