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The Hope Diamond: rare color and rich history

The Hope Diamond is renowed for its rare color and rich history.

In 1668, a French gem merchant, Jean Baptiste Tavernier, sold a 115-carat blue diamond to King Louis XIV of France. The diamond came from India and was faceted in a somewhat triangular shape. It was then recut in 1673, resulting in a 69-carat stone, known as the “French Blue”.

During the French Revolution in 1792, it was stolen, recut again and did not reappear until 1812 in London. Evidence suggests that King George IV of England purchased the diamond around 1821.

Sometimes after King George IV’s death, in 1830, the diamond was purchased by a London banker and gem collector, Henry Philip Hope, whose name it bears today. In 1912, after undergoing many more ownerships, Pierre Cartier sold the Hope Diamond to Evalyn Walsh McLean, a Washinghton D.C. socialite.

Finally, in 1949, Harry Winston purchased the diamond to include it in his “Court of Jewels” exhibition, which toured the world for charity. In 1958 Winston donated the diamond to the Smithsonian Institution, where it remains today.

The Hope Diamond, examined by GIA in 1997, was graded a natural fancy deep grayish blue diamond with a clarity grade of VS-1. It is a cushion antique brilliant cut that weighs 45,52 carats and is one of the largest, rarest, most important blue diamonds in the world. 

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