|The Hope Diamond.|
The Hope Diamond is an extremely large gem measuring 1 inch long, 7/8 inch wide, 12 mm thick, and weighs approximately 45.5 carats. It was described in 1996 as "fancy deep grayish-blue." It's deep blue color is achieved because of small traces of boron mixed into the molecular structure of the diamond. Under an ultra-violet light it shines in a brilliant red color. It's cut in an antique cushion cut. Until recently it was encased in a platinum setting with 16 alternating pear and cushion cut diamonds, and hung at the end of a chain of 45 diamonds.
The gem then probably came into the possession of Daniel Eliason, a London merchant, and the diamond was cut to its modern shape. It then disappeared again until 1820 when a diamond matching the description and cut of the Hope Diamond was bought by King George IV. At the king's death in 1830 it was bought by banker Henry Philip Hope after whom the diamond was named. From there, the jewel passed through several hands until it was bought by New York jeweler Harry Winston. Winston then donated the diamond on November 10, 1958 to the Smithsonian Institution where it remains today as the most popular gem on display. Its current setting was designed by Pierre Cartier, one of the diamond's owners, in 1920.
In 1904 Olive Muriel Thompson married Lord Francis Hope one of the owners of the Hope Diamond, but she tragically died 8 years later, an event thought to be related to the curse. The Actress May Yohe, former wife of the last Hope to own the diamond, blamed it for her own misfortunes. In 1920 she promoted a 15-episode seriel The Hope Diamond Mystery with her as the star. The serial can not be taken seriously however, as many of its characters and plot points are fictitious.
On January 19 1908 an article entitled, "Hope Diamond Has Brought Trouble To All Who Have Owned It" was published in the Washington Post. In November of 1909 another article was released in the New York Times claiming that the former owner of the gem, Selim Habib, had died in a shipwreck near Singapore. However, this was proven false as the drowned man was simply another man with the same name, and not the former owner. At the time, its current owner, Pierre Cartier, encouraged these tales to interest Evalyn Walsh McLean into purchasing it. Apparently McLean had told him that she thought objects that gave bad luck to others gave good luck to her. McLean bought the Hope Diamond in 1910, and encouraged the stories of its curse for her own publicity. She wore it everywhere she went. However, since the diamond came into the possession of the Smithsonian Institution in 1958 there have been no incidents out of the ordinary.