Once Upon A Time…
Centuries ago in faraway India, deep beneath the surface of the earth, a very special stone was formed. What made it so extraordinary was its color…a deep indigo blue. It was a diamond of gigantic proportions, and it was destined to become a legendary gem.
When discovered, it was believed to have great mystical powers, and was reputedly used to adorn the statue of a Hindu idol. Word of its power and beauty spread throughout the land until, suddenly, the great blue diamond disappeared.
Over the course of the next few centuries, the fable grew. According to legend, the diamond was in the possession of sultans, King Louis XIV, English royalty, an actress, jewelers, and thieves. It is believed that the diamond brought tragedy to each of its owners. At the turn of the century the diamond was purchased by a young American heiress named Evalyn Walsh McLean.
Evalyn led anything but a normal life. She grew up a poor girl in a tough Colorado mining town where her Irish immigrant father, Thomas Francis Walsh, discovered one of the largest gold mines in the United States. The newly wealthy family relocated to Washington, D.C., where she met and married Ned McLean, who inherited the renowned Washington Post and the Cincinnati Enquirer. With the combined influence of the Walsh and McLean families, Evalyn developed friendships with the politically prominent in the nation’s capitol and became the city’s favorite hostess. Notorious for giving magnificent parties, she counted the Tafts, the Hardings, the Coolidges, Alice Roosevelt, J. Edgar Hoover, and Ethel Barrymore among her many personal friends.
The McLeans purchased the Hope Diamond when Evalyn was only twenty-four. Wagging tongues and the diamond’s supposed curse did not, however, prevent her from wearing it. She lost the diamond a few times… once by putting it around her Great Dane’s neck. Evalyn sported the incredible gem everywhere. She realized that the true power of this coveted jewel came from the joy and awe which filled the faces of those who gazed upon it. While Evalyn loved her diamonds, she loved her children, pets, and life more. When she passed away the Hope Diamond was worth $2 million dollars…it is valued at more than $225 million dollars today.
Currently the diamond resides in its permanent home at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. where it can be appreciated by millions of admirers who marvel at its splendor.
The fable has become a legend.
The original diamond weighed a little over 112 carats before jewelers cut the stone down. The official weight now is 45.52 carats.
Traces of boron in the Hope Diamond contribute to the stone’s deep blue color.
This setting of The Hope Diamond features 16 white diamonds encircling the blue stone. The chain includes an additional 45 white diamonds.
The Hope Diamond Under UV Light