September 11, 1792: Hope Diamond Stolen!

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A Brief History

On September 11, 1792, in the midst of the confusion of the French Revolution, the crown jewels, which included the fabulous Hope Diamond (Le Bleu de France), were stolen.

Digging Deeper

Mined in India in the 17th century, it came to the attention of a Frenchman by the name of Jean-Baptiste Tavernier who brought it back to France with him where he sold it to the Sun King, Louis XIV.  Known first as the “Tavernier Blue” and then “Le Bijou du Roi” (the King’s jewel), the Hope Diamond was originally a blue, 112-carat diamond.  For the next 124 years, it remained the property of the French royal family who had it cut to approximately 67.125 carats and set in a pendant. 

During the French Revolution, chaos reigned in France, and the royal family was confined.  With no one keeping proper order, thieves were able to steal many of the crown jewels, including le diamant bleu de la Couronne de France  (the Blue Diamond of the Crown of France).  Some of the jewels were recovered, but the “French Blue” (yet another name for the Hope Diamond) was not.  To disguise it, it was cut to its present size of 45.52 carats. 

Little else what happened to it is known, except that it reappeared in England in either 1812 or 1830.  It is possible that King George IV purchased the diamond and that it was then either stolen by a mistress or sold by him to pay mounting debts.  At any rate, it was then that a London banker named Thomas Hope bought the stone for between $65,000 and $90,000 in that day’s currency.  The diamond then stayed in his family’s possession for the next 63 years, until it was sold to first a London jeweler and then a New York jeweler. 

The New York jeweler believed that ownership of the diamond brought him bad luck, so he called it a “hoodoo” diamond and sold it at auction in 1908.  This might have been the case since the Turkish Sultan who bought it for $400,000 quickly went broke and had to sell it again (did he perhaps go broke from buying it in the first place?).  The Hope Diamond then through many more hands including those of Pierre Cartier and a rich Washington D.C. couple.  In 1949 diamond merchant Harry Winston bought the stone and in 1958 donated it to the Smithsonian Institution where it resides to this day.

Due to its history of calamities, including the beheadings of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, the Hope Diamond is rumored to be cursed.  Historians, however, scoff at this alleged curse, and it does not seem to be affecting the Smithsonian Institution whose world-class gem collection is experiencing rising attendance levels.

If you are interested in reading about other famous thefts, we recommend the History and Headlines article “10 Notorious Thefts, Heists and Robberies.”

For another interesting event that happened on September 11, please see the History and Headlines article: “History and Headlines Reveals 10 Things History Got Wrong, Part 5 (Movie Edition!)

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Your readership is much appreciated!

Historical Evidence

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Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.

  • Ali Adya

    I wish that somewhere along the line my family had inherited this diamond. (haha) Money is the root of all evil, and the worth of that diamond alone must carry alot of evil with it if that saying holds true.

  • Mike Rinicella

    The diamond would probably be worth millions today

  • Corey McComas

    I have seen the diamond in Washington DC, but I did not really know all of the stories behind it. It was interesting to hear that people who bought it thought it to be cursed!

  • Patrick Roder

    I wonder how the new york jeweler was after he received after the $400,000. Pretty lucky after that.

  • MS

    I wouldn’t want to own the diamond if it were actually cursed. I don’t care how much its worth!

  • NS

    That stone is HUGE. I think it is cool that the stone has taken on such a life and transferred from hand to hand for so many years. It is a good thing that it ended it’s journey at the Smithsonian, which can hold it as the historical artifact that it is and take impressive care of it.

  • Harvey Tolley

    Having seen the Hope diamond in person I can attest to its size and beauty. Pictures here do not do it justice. The history behind it makes it even more interesting.

  • Ben Nevers

    I have actually seen it in the Smithsonian; however, I had no idea it had gone through so many hands.

  • Gino Iacampo

    How does something THAT precious have little enough security to be stolen? That thing should be locked in a box that is locked in a box and so on.. I would love to see this in person.

  • Rhonda Donda

    Stolen, I’m surprised it made it to New York.

  • Hannah Louk

    I’ve actually seen this Diamond! its very beautiful and huge. I couldn’t imagine it at it’s original size before being cut twice.

  • Natalie Sholtis

    Oh, man! I bet it’s super beautiful in person! I would to go see it someday.

  • DAVID WARDLE

    I never knew that the Hope Diamond had changed possession so many times! — DAVID WARDLE

  • Heather H

    wow, i had no idea it had changed hands so many times, interesting

  • Jake Woolf

    The curse may be extending past the smithsonian and into the coffers of the US Fedgov. Slowly going broke, so it may be a possible explanation.

    cue Twilight Zone Music

  • Alex Guthrie

    I’d like to know if the diamond actually is cursed or what…but I suppose that is a supernatural question more than anything.

  • w.y.

    That would sick to have such a beautiful diamond only for it to be cursed!

  • gsack89

    I find it hard to believe all of those people would sell a diamond that was historically attached to royalty. They would have to know that the future value of the gem would continue to rise, so why sell it? I don’t buy into the curse, people go broke every day, I don’t think that had anything to do with the gem.

  • Samantha Easterling

    I don’t believe in curses.. I think that its in the peoples head and turn anything that happens in everyday life to being cursed.

  • tevin k

    Cant believe its been passed around so much! I do not believe in curses though.

  • David Purcel

    I am sure a lot of Chicago Cubs fans can relate to this article because they of all people know all about curses.

  • Alec Ciferno

    Cursed? Probably not. You could more easily attach human greed as the cause of the diamond’s evasiveness

  • Jack Berry

    Very cool story probably the worlds most famous diamond. Something like that must have some kind of curse to go with it!

  • Stephen Ciocca

    I for one am a strong believer in curses and after reading all of this it is hard to deny that the Hope Diamond is cursed! I only wonder why there has been no tragic events associated with it and the smithsonian since it was donated to the museum…

  • Ann

    i didn’t know that there was a curse attached to the Diamond. I don’t really believe in curses so i think the Smithsonian will continue to stay safe.

  • Holly Damron

    After the diamond had been exchanged numerous times, you’d expect better security to be place on it to avoid incidents like the theft of the diamond.

  • Nathan

    I wonder how this diamond made its way to England after it was stolen? I find it strange that this diamond has been well-documented in all of the other aspects of it’s “life”, but that nobody knows what happened to it over such a large period of time.

    N.W.

  • Alexandria McDole

    The fact that people kept selling and buying it they should have stopped a long time ago. Everyone was going broke right after they bought. More security should have been put in the stone. If people thought that the stone was cursed they should have just put it away.

    AM

  • katrina studer

    I have seen this beautiful diamond, but I never knew its whole background. It is interesting that so many people had it before and that it said to be cursed, that is pretty cool.

  • Alexandra Bull

    I agree with Alexandria. If people believed the stone to be cursed, why was is continually bought and sold. More security should have been put in place. The pictures look gorgeous, though.

  • Grace W

    We are quite superstitious people, these claims of cursed objects are scattered throughout history GW

  • Kyle Puhl

    I find it interesting how many times that it was bought and sold. The claim that it was cursed gives it more reason why it was sold so many times

  • Madison Galloway

    It is so neat that a diamond can carry so much history behind it. It would make sense that the diamond was cursed if it had been sold so many times. Since it was so expensive and obviously beautiful, it would not make sense for someone to not want to keep the diamond in the family and pass down through generations… Unless, of course, it was cursed.

  • Erica Wheaton

    The fact that a diamond that sells that much a t auction is sure to be cursed and make the buyer broke. However the fact that this stone has traded so many hands show how important it has become.

  • Tessa Baker

    It’s interesting that The New York jeweler believed that ownership of the diamond brought him bad luck and that it is rumored to be cursed.

  • Parker Stricklen

    The curse behind the Hope Diamond is so interesting. That probably has something to with the fact that it was bought and sold so many different times.

  • Jenna Risacher

    The journey of the diamond is so interesting. It is crazy how many different hands it has been in and it is interesting to know the stories behind each previous owner.

  • lukas Biglin

    for something so famous it is understandable how it was sold so many time bringing wealth to all of the people. A curse is just as likely to form after all the hands that it was passed through

  • Anna Ingles

    I have heard of the Hope Diamond before but never really knew the extent of its value. That is very cool how they are able to trace it from The royal family and then onto theives. Very interesting to hear that this piece of jewelry could be cursed due to its historical relevance.

  • Ellyn Kilpatrick

    The curse at the moment just seems coincidental, though it is right to be cautious around it as not much is known as to what happened to it during its disappearance.

  • Scott Saner

    I find it interesting that a diamond could seem so cursed.

  • Derek Reynolds

    i find it interesting that people believe things to be cursed

  • Colin Williams

    It’s interesting that there is a history of theft and bankruptcy
    that seems to follow this diamond throughout history but I don’t believe that
    it’s cursed.

  • Brendan E.

    I have also never understood how people can think that something is haunted. Most stuff is because of coincidences.

  • rcolby1

    Ive personal read many stories where the diamonds were lost and everything and they discovred them like fifteen years later or so. On the other hand How can a diamond carry so much history.

  • JEL

    Its unfortunate that we will never know the path the diamond traveled from France to Elngland.

  • SW

    It’s interesting that it was missing for so long and even cut from its original size. Where would someone store a stolen diamond anyways, in your sock drawer?

  • kk

    Dang that sucks that it got stolen and cut from its original size. But its hard to keep solmthing that safe unless they always have someone watching it.

  • BV

    Maybe it was cut down to be the heart of the ocean from Titanic. As for it being cursed, i don’t know about that one.

  • Loren deck

    Cursed by peoples own greed arrogance and stupidity or bad luck maybe not by a supernatural force for sure

  • Kamarin R

    Interesting how the hope diamond was owned by so many different people before ending up where it is today.

  • DW

    Probably not cursed, but it still has a very interesting history.

  • Alex Hewitt

    Anything that is cursed, no way for me. I’m out

  • DC

    This makes you wonder if the stone really is cursed. So many bad things happened to the people who possessed it, so to someone who believes in that it could be possible.

  • Andy frick

    Certainly not cursed but quite a past.

  • APG

    Damn that thing went through a bunch of owners. Doubt its cursed though.

  • Matt Smail

    haunted? nah…. i don’t think so. i personally do not believe in those things.

  • Dakota A rinier

    I dont think that ghosts and things of supernatural powers are real

  • CJ

    Personally I believe In those types of things, so I certain think that it could have been haunted and whoever possessed it was damned until getting rid of it.

  • ac

    I don’t think it’s haunted, it has quite a history with different owners but it probably isn’t cursed.

  • Mikayla Hutchings

    I wonder how much the Hope diamond is worth now! It is interesting how much the diamond has been passed around and how it was even missing for a period of time.

  • Maria Ndini

    Is is so fascinating that this diamond has traveled so much around the world, and has been passed along so many generations and families! I would love to go see it one day, even though I hope its curse is not real! I wonder I the diamond that reappeared in 1812 or 1830 was actually the original one that was lost during the French Revolution.

  • Ellen Liebenguth

    I have seen the diamond at the Smithsonian and its definitely a unique jewel. I think that what is most interesting about the diamond though is the alleged curse and the weird circumstances that it brought to past owners. I don’t know if I believe in that kind of bad juju, but I don’t think I would take my chances with it.

  • Mark Baniewicz

    This was an interesting article. It sounds like the Hope Diamond had traveled around quite a bit since the time it was stolen. I do not believe any curse associated with this precious jewel was legitimate.

  • Frank F.

    A 112 Carrot diamond is absurd and ridiculous to say the least. The gem is roughly 45.52 carrot today and the average carrot in an engagement ring or diamond ring is probably around 1 carrot. This a very large and different gem because it appears to give a red tint as stated in the video. The gem as had a long history and as been in numerous hands through its time.

  • Morgan price

    How interesting that the diamond is rumored to be cursed! I would not be surprised if the original owners of the diamond perpetrated this rumor to deter thieves but its history is notheless fascinating. It’s amazing that the hope diamond belonged to so many interesting historical figures such as Marie Antoinette. I would love to go see how large the diamond is in person in the smithsonian one day.

  • Mike Andelbradt

    I have always heard of the Hope Diamond as a type of legend. I was never aware of the in depth history of it. I find it amazing how many time the jewel has changed hands and how it currently resides in our Smithsonian. Maybe one day the diamond will make its way back to France. But for our sake lets just hope its not cursed!

  • Claire Fraser

    I am surprised that this diamond is in an American museum. I wonder how it was identified see as how the person that stole it cut it in order to disguise it. Hopefully the alleged curses do not follow it to the Smithsonian!

  • Nicholas Mog

    The Hope Diamond reminds me of the diamond in the movie Titanic. The picture of this diamond looks very similar to the diamond used in the movie. The story lines up, with the Hope Diamond traveling from London to New York. Perhaps the Hope Diamond was the same diamond as seen in the movie.

  • Dana Roman

    I actually have never heard the story of the Hope Diamond. It is such a interesting story and that that the diamond is said to be cursed. Also I was shocked at the travel the diamond took and now is in an American museum.

  • Lauren Synek

    The Hope Diamond has gone through many different homes and has had many different names. I was cut down to less than half the size of the original gem. It went from being coveted and kept for years to being sold from person to person before finally being given to the museum. Many people believe it is cursed and I wonder what bad things happened to the people who owned it that made them believe that. They mentioned the Turkish Sultan went broke, but did not give any other stories.

  • Erin Kochan

    It is funny that the people that purchased the diamond over time have claimed that it was bad luck. It seems like most of the bad luck was going broke, and a very logical explanation for going broke is because of the paying a massive amount of money for the diamond.

  • Brandon Simpson

    The curse that comes with the diamond is funny. I’ve heard of the Hope Diamond before i think in a couple of moves or what not.

  • Alexandra

    It’s fascinating that the entire track of the jewel was able to be determined and the jewel itself was kept up with to the point where it’s now in a museum. Pretty cool that in all that time it never got into the wrong hands!

  • Hannah Grazia

    I have never heard of the Hope Diamond before. I do believe that it could be cursed after all the bad things that occurred to the people who had purchased it. It is probably best for the diamond to be at the Smithsonian.

  • Daniel Cora

    The Hope Diamond does not seem to hold much hope itself. First, it was stolen and took years to recover. And then, those who purchased seemed to have terrible luck.

  • Amanda Lopuchovsky

    The fact that the diamond and other crown jewels were stolen shows just how chaotic France was during their Revolution. It is also interesting that the myth surrounding the diamond labels it as cursed! It’s name (Hope Diamond) would infer differently.

  • Sarah

    I actually this past fall was able to visit the museum and see the jewel! Not only was it large in size, it was STUNNING. Its no wonder why they were in search of it. I have never heard that the stone brought bad luck.. good read! Very interesting!

  • Christina Hickey

    It is ironic that the diamond was called The Hope Diamond, because it did not seem to give hope to anyone. It seems like it was traveling from owner to owner so that it would find its true home in the museum. It is crazy that so many people went insane over this diamond and the selling price rose fast.

  • Alexander Correa

    I think it is very possible that it could be cursed because of the beheadings of Louie XVI and Marie Antoinette. I believe things in this world can be cursed. At the same time though it is worth a lot of money so they could have also said it is cursed after going broke from buying it.

  • Peyton Elliott

    Very cool story, this is the first time I’ve heard about it. Ironic that the Hope Diamond did not bring hope to any of its owners.

  • Joshua Dzurko

    Many of us focus on the history relating to people and nations, but often forget to duly recognize the objects and artifacts that shape lives around the world. So reading the story of this glamorized rock is fantastic. It’s been trading hands and shaping lives for over 400 years. Very cool to say the least.

  • Robert Kratman

    It’s really interesting to realize one rock has been in the hands of so many historical figures. It’s also amazing that we have not lost artifacts such as this stone throughout time.

  • Matt Grazia

    Very cool story. I would love to get my hands on that rock! It is amazing how many different people have had this diamond. Funny how one rock can have a story like this!

  • Nikos Nacopoulos

    It’s interesting to see how many different hands have held the diamond throughout its history! One thing I am curious about is the whereabouts of the remainder parts of the modern diamond. The French Royal family nearly cut it in half, so what happened to that other half?

  • Matt E.

    I think it would be more appropriate for the diamond to be in a French museum, but it is cool to have it displayed in DC.

  • Joe Leary

    It’s interesting to see how much history one piece of Jewelry can possess.

  • Noah Michel

    I enjoy the ironic displeasures the diamond brings.

  • Maxwell McCullough

    A shame that it was recut to disguise it. It must have been massive originally.

  • Nicholas Hillyer

    It’s nice that nobody has been successful in owning it again the diamond should be for the public to enjoy not just one person.

  • Rachel Brown

    The piece of jewelry that was worth so much, was in the hands of a lot of people. This diamond has a very interesting story. I don’t believe it had a curse on it though!

  • Montel Lollis

    OMG that much money gesh, i wish i had it , but not get caught, and it possibly could have been bad luck !

  • Courtney G

    Is this the diamond in the movie Titanic? Maybe it was actually bad karma that sank the Titanic..

  • Suzie M. Shaffer

    After buying a diamond for almost half a million dollar could be the reasoning for going poor. haha. If i had previous owners having bad things happen while having it in possession i would not buy it.

  • misty w.

    that’s a lot of money for a diamond they need to change the name to loss hope

  • Drew N

    Must have been a beaut before it was recut

  • Mackenzie H

    The Hope Diamond was stolen. It was one of the worlds best creations. And even has a legendary curse.

  • Michael Tovissi

    So much money for a diamond like that. Never knew the diamond was known to be cursed.

  • Payton Brown

    I can’t believe that the diamond traveled all over the world but was never returned to France. Seems odd to own something that was stolen from someone else.

  • Amanda Miller

    Looking at that stone and how it was cut and put in a pendant it looks familiar like I’ve seen it in a movie before.

  • MIA

    The original diamond must have been pretty big!!!

  • Olivia Easterday

    A cursed diamond! That’s pretty rad!

  • Alex Leighton

    A cursed diamond… Never really heard of that one before. It’s pretty cool that it went through so much history, people, and different countries and is now in a museum today.

  • Ian Helwagen

    Sounds like a plot from Indiana Jones film!

  • Leslie U

    I love this article! It definitely sounds like something James Bond would investigate if stolen from the museum.

  • J.M

    I do not believe in ghost or stuff like that. But it is one of those things that actually scare me. For me its like in the same category as aliens and what happens after death.

  • Grace D

    People treasure unnecessary things and can become corrupt by money and in this case a jew. Not surprised that its known to be cursed because this had corrupted many.