Diamonds are one of the most distinguished earth gemstones continuously equated to a physical indication of wealth, beauty, and value. The unique and long processes involved in the formation of a diamond and the difficulty in acquiring one make it rare and expensive. The glamour and luxury of real diamonds make them always associated with wealth, fame, and royalty.
The beautiful thing about diamonds is that it has varieties; even if all diamonds are mined from the ground, one cannot be like the other because of the things that may occur in its formation; some diamonds may contain impurities that would affect their appearance and value.
This is why some diamonds are more expensive than others. The hope diamond is one of these priced and valued diamonds; it is incredibly beautiful and has a worth estimated to be roughly around 200-250 million dollars. The hope diamond is famous and has an interesting history with wealthy and notable people.
In this article, I will be focus mainly on the hope diamond, including the current information about where to find it.
The Hope Diamond: Definition & History
Definition Of A Hope Diamond
The’ hope diamond,’ as it is popularly known, is also known by other names such as Le Bijou du Roi (“the King’s Jewel”), the Tavernier Blue, and Le bleu de France (“the French Blue”). The most prominent thing about the hope diamond is its natural blue color that is present because of the trace elements boron in the diamond and also its large size of about 45.52-carat (9.104 g); this amount of carat is what’s left of the 112 carats it weighed when it was discovered before several recuts had been carried out on the diamond yet even with its current size it is still among the classification of large diamonds.
The hope diamond is classified as a Type IIb diamond. This group of natural diamonds is particularly rare. They contain low nitrogen impurities and trace amounts of boron within the gemstone’s structure. The hope diamond, in particular, is the largest existing natural sapphire-blue gemstone.
The hope diamond has a natural beautiful blue color when it is under ordinary or natural lights and gives off a reddish-orange phosphorescence when placed under ultraviolet light. The blue diamond is studded in a pendant Toison d’ or.
History Of The Hope Diamond
The hope diamond was formed underneath the earth primarily from carbon deposits; the formation takes place when there are perfect conditions of high heat and pressure; the stone formation of diamonds usually takes shape within days, months, or millions of years. When these stones are formed, it is up to natural occurrences like volcanic eruptions to bring these diamonds to the surface before humans finally mine them from the ground.
The hope diamond was mined originally from the Kollur Mine in Gunter, India, in the 17th century and is known as one of the Golconda diamonds. In its original size from when it was mined from the ground, it was up to 112 carats and was triangular. The hope diamond is one of the most famous gemstones globally because of its fascinating history; the diamonds have moved from one wealthy or prominent person to another.
The earliest documentation of the hope diamond shows how it started its journey after being obtained by a French gem merchant named Jean Baptiste Taverner in 1666; it was called the ‘Tavernier Blue.’ Taverner later sold the Stone to King Louis XIV of France in 1668; it was later cut by the court jeweler Jean Pitau under the instructions of King Louise XIV in 1673 to enhance its brilliance. He worked on the Stone for about two years, and the finished look was triangular. It became 67 1/8 carats, about the size of a pigeon’s egg. It was renamed ‘Blue Diamond of the Crown’; King Louise loved the diamond and usually wore it around his neck; it was set in good and had a ribbon to support it.
The diamond was placed in a more sophisticated jeweled pendant in 1749 by Louis XIV’s great-grandson, Louis XV, who did this for the Order of the Golden Fleece by court jeweler André Jacquemin. After Louis XV died, the blue diamond was owned by his grandson Louis XVI, the diamond wasn’t used for much, and it remained in its pendant. Even though Louis XVI’s wife, Queen Marie Antoinette, liked using many of the French Crown Jewels for beautifying herself, it wasn’t recorded to have been worn by her. The blue diamond was removed from its pendant once in 1787 when Mathurin Jacques Brisson was scientifically studying it.
On September 11, 1792, the blue diamond was stolen by a group of thieves when Louis XVI and his family were locked up in the Square du Temple during the early stages of the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. The robbery lasted for about five days, and most of the Crown Jewels were stolen from the Royal Storehouse. However, they could recover many of the jewels with the Order of the Golden Fleece included, but the French Blue diamond was never recovered.
The blue diamond was later recorded in 1812 when it was sold by a diamond merchant in London named Daniel Eliason to another king named King George IV of the United Kingdom. When King George died, the diamond was sold to pay off the debts he had incurred during his reign, and the buyer was Henry Philip Hope, a well-known collector of arts, precious gems, and many more. The diamond was named after him (Hope diamond) and was published in his gem catalog in 1939.
When Henry Philip Hope died, the diamond was passed on to his nephew Henry Thomas and his grandson Lord Francis Hope. As a means to pay off Lord Francis Hope’s debt, the diamond was sold; the diamond kept moving from one person to another until it finally made its way to a wealthy American jewelry collector named Harry Winston in 1949; he spent about a decade with the diamond displaying it around the country for its beauty to been seen by everyone before he decided to donate it.
The diamond was very popular because of its journey from one wealthy person to another; it was once owned by a Washington D.C socialite named Evalyn Walsh McLean, who wore the jewelry on several occasions. The diamond has a fascinating history that made some people apprehensive and attracted to it; the diamond was rumored to bring misfortune and grief because of the historical occurrences it had with its previous owners, from the execution of Louis XVI to the death of Evalyn McLean’s children. However, whether the hope diamond is cursed or not, most people consider the misfortunes as just mere coincidence.
Where Is The Hope Diamond?
The hope diamond is one of the rarest and most popular gemstones to have traveled from different countries in the hands of different people; it has been recut and arranged differently to suit the preferences of some of its owners like Louis XVI of France, who had it recut by his court jeweler, his great-grandson Louis XV who placed the diamond in a more elegant and sophisticated pendant for the Order of the Golden Fleece.
Another record where the diamond was worked on was for Mrs. Evalyn Walsh McLean of Washington D.C when she wasn’t pleased with its look, and Pierre Cartier had it reset to suit her preference.
After all the purchases and inheritances of the blue diamond, it finally made its way to Harry Winston, who purchased the entire jewelry collection of the previous owner who had died, Mrs. Evalyn Mclean. Mr. Harry Winston spent about ten years with the hope diamond. He showed the diamond at many exhibits and charitable events in those years, including the Court of Jewels exhibition, where it was the central attraction.
On 1958 November 10, Mr. Harry Winston made a generous donation of the Hope diamond to the Smithsonian Institute, where it immediately became the premier attraction. The hope diamond is safely kept at the front of the gem collection in a locked display case; it rotates slowly on its pedestal, allowing visitors to admire every part of it properly.
So if you’re curious about the current location of the hope diamond, it is permanently housed in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History located in Washington D.C.
Characteristics Of The Hope Diamond
The hope diamond has changed so many times throughout history; it has been recut, reconstructed, and repolished severally until its current state. It is now in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. The current hope diamond has the following characteristics;
Weight- the recorded weight of the hope diamond as of December 1988 was 45.52 carats (9.104 g; 0.3211 oz); this research was carried out by the Gemological Institute of America’s laboratory.
Dimensions, size, and shape- the hope diamond has a pear shape that has been compared to the size and shape of a walnut or pigeon’s egg. It has a length recorded at 25.60mm, a width of 21.78mm, and a depth of 12.00 mm.
Cut- the diamond has a cut described as a Cushion antique brilliant with a faceted griddle and extra facets on the pavilion. The surrounding pendants of the hope diamond have 16 white diamonds, both pear-shaped and cushion cut. When the diamond was reset for Mrs. McLean, a bail was attached to the pendant, which aided Mrs. McLean in easily placing other diamonds, including the McLean diamond and the Star of the East Diamond.
Clarity- when the hope diamond was researched by the Gemological Institute of America’s laboratory, the clarity was recorded as VS1, with whitish graining present.
Color- the color of the hope diamond has been described as a ‘fancy dark greyish-blue,’ as having a ‘steely-blue’ color, and as ‘dark blue‘ in color. In 1996, the Gemological Institute of America examined the diamond using their proprietary scale and graded it as a fancy deep grayish-blue.
The gray modifier has a dark, somewhat indigo look that produces an ‘inky’ outcome that appears as if it is almost blackish-blue in incandescent light. The hope diamond, over time, has been described differently by different individuals; Tavernier described it as a ‘beautiful Violet,’ and in some popular literature, it is described as “superfine deep blue,” comparing it to fine sapphire.
The color of the hope diamond is extremely sharp and clear in many current photographs where high-intensity light sources have been used to maximize the gemstone’s brilliance.
Phosphorescence: the hope diamond has an intense reddish-orange phosphorescence when exposed to ultraviolet light in a dark room; this intense glow would last for several minutes even after the light source has been turned off. The glow resembles a lump of hot coal that has been removed from the fire; this quality of the hope diamond is a common characteristic of natural blue diamonds that allows scientists to differentiate the real ones from the fake ones properly.
This intense red glow is present because of the boron and nitrogen chemicals present in the gemstone.
Chemical composition: the hope diamond was removed and examined in 2010 to determine its chemical composition; a hole of one nanometer was bored into the diamond, and the preliminary experiments recognized the presence of boron, hydrogen, and possibly some traces of nitrogen. The boron concentration in the Stone is responsible for the blue color of the Stone, and this concentration varies from zero to eight parts per million.
Hardness- diamonds are one of the hardest gemstones gotten from the earth, and the hope diamond is no exception. In general, the diamond’s crystalline structure determines the hardness of the diamond; the structure has weak planes in the bonds that make it easy for jewelers to cut the Stone easily.
The hope diamond is indeed a spectacular diamond that has traveled around many wealthy and prominent individuals in the world; it is incredibly beautiful, rare, and valuable, and such a spectacular stone is best to be protected in a safe place which is why Mr. Harry Winston decided to donate it to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History located in Washington D.C, so if you’d like to see this Stone in all the glory then you should visit this museum.