The Curse Behind The Hope Diamond
Diamonds have been a source of wealth and dispute for centuries. “When humankind first discovered the diamond is not known.” ("ECP" 685) Diamonds were originally mined from riverbeds in India, and through trade-routes, diamonds reached the kingdoms and empires of Europe and Asia. One diamond in particular has a most colorful history and has travelled across continents into the hands of Sultans, King Louis XIV, and finally to the Smithsonian in America where it is now on display for the public eye. This diamond has been known as the Hope Diamond, the French Blue, and Tavernier Blue throughout time. Today the Hope Diamond is well known for its curse that has touched every hand possessing the diamond. This particular diamond is a rare brilliant blue. The Indians associated the color “blue with the Hindu god of death, Yama” (Kurin 55). The belief that blue diamonds should be avoided may have been why it was so easy for such a large blue diamond to travel west out of the hands of the Indians. The Hope Diamond was named after Lord Francis Hope but was first discovered by Jean-Baptiste Tavernier. Tavernier was an explorer who ventured from France to India in search of diamonds. It is believed that Tavernier robbed a large blue diamond off a Hindu idol (statue) of Sita. After years of misfortune, living a rough traveler’s life, Tavernier returned to France and by the request of King Louis XIV, Tavernier told his tales and sold many diamonds to the king, including the stone that would become the Hope Diamond. King Louis XIV had his diamond cutters refine the blue stone into a smaller more beautiful diamond. It is told that those who come into possession of this Diamond would be cursed till death. Many of the owners in history have suffered misfortunes which have contributed to the tale of the curse of the Hope Diamond. Tavernier was born right after King Henry IV issued the Edict of Nantes, where Protestants gained civil rights. This allowed Tavernier to become an apprentice to a jeweler and begin his journey in search of diamonds. Though the myth speaks of a curse that is bestowed upon he who possesses the stone, there are no records of Tavernier suffering any ill fates while he carried the Hope Diamond for fifteen years. Additionally, there is no record of how Tavernier passed away. Skeptics believe that after Tavernier sold the diamond to the King of France, he was torn apart by wild dogs on a trip to Russia. Could this horrible death be the first attributed to the curse of the Hope Diamond? Another count states that after being handsomely paid for the diamond Tavernier purchased a large piece of land in the vicinity of Switzerland where he lived with his son. Apparently his wife died giving birth to his son and his son caused him much trouble forcing Tavernier to sell his estate to pay off his debts. This forced Tavernier to go on another adventure east looking for more diamonds. On this journey he picked up a fever and perished never being heard from again (Streeter 213). But if the curse from the Hope Diamond applies to the owner of the diamond, then why would Tavernier have died after he sold the diamond when he no longer owned it? The following two owners of the Hope Diamond were not tormented by the curse. Both King Louis XIV and XV wore the diamond countless times but neither suffered ill fates. It was not until Louis XVI was crowned, that the curse seemed to reappear. Both King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were put to death by guillotine in the French Revolution. Those who believe in the Hope Diamond’s curse believe that their death was because of the diamond. It is difficult to attest to their deaths being caused by the diamond’s curse when a more logical solution would be that their wealth and affluence had much more to do with it. Also many other nobles, who never touched the stone, were beheaded during this time. After their death many of...
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