Whenever fall arrives I find myself in the mood for pumpkin bread, spiced lattes, and the scariest ghost stories I can find. Don’t get me wrong, I am terrified of anything that goes bump in the night, but I still love reading about the supernatural. Ancient curses, haunted mansions, and spooky old legends are my favorite. A few years ago I became fascinated by the curse of the French Blue diamond. This rare and priceless stone is known to many as the Hope Diamond and resides in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. Before it became a beloved tourist attraction the French Blue left behind a bloody and terrifying trail.
The curse begins in 1642 when a Frenchman named Jean Baptiste Tavernier plucked the enormous blue diamond from the eye of an idol during his travels in India. After returning to France and selling the diamond to King Louie XIV, Tavernier continued his travels to Russia where he was reportedly ripped to pieces by wild dogs as punishment for removing the stone. The diamond was later re-cut and passed down to Louie XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette. Both were executed by the guillotine during the French Revolution and many believe it was the diamond’s curse that caused such a violent end. After the French Blue was stolen from France it remained lost until 1812, when it mysteriously appeared for sale in London. There are rumors it was purchased by King George IV, and several paintings portray him wearing a very large blue stone in a pendant.
The French Blue eventually resurfaced in America in the hands of Henry Philip Hope and was renamed the Hope Diamond. The curse soon struck again, as the once wealthy Hope family went completely bankrupt after taking possession of the diamond.
In 1910 Pierre Cartier sold the diamond to Evalyn Walsh McLean who proclaimed the cursed gem her good luck charm. According to legend the wealthy woman was obsessed with the blue diamond, refusing to take it off even for surgery. Sadly, it not the good luck she wished for. Evalyn’s family had their own share of tragedy when her first born died in a car crash, her daughter committed suicide, and her husband was confined to a mental institution. Many saw this as the long fingers of the diamond’s curse, but Evalyn stubbornly wore the diamond until she died. It was sold in 1941 to settle debts from her estate and purchased by Harry Winston. Winston wanted nothing to do with the diamond’s curse and later, some say for mysterious reasons, offered to donate the diamond to the Smithsonian Museum.
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