An exquisite gem, the priceless Hope Diamond, was believed to have been cursed by a woman who blamed her marital unhappiness on it.
Hewn from the mines of Golconda in southern India, it originally belonged to Louis XIV of France and disappeared during the bloody years of the French revolution. It was bought by a wealthy diamond collector, Henry Hope in 1830 who escaped ill fortune. But he handed it on to his cousin Lord Francis Hope, whose wife laid the curse on it. Because she blamed the failure of her marriage on the stone, she prophesied evil for all its future owners.
Jaques Colot, a French diamond broker bought the Hope Diamond in 1904, and sold it for profit to a Russian noble, Prince Kaniovski. Colot went mad, and committed suicide within months of concluding the deal. The prince shot and killed an actress at the Folies Bergeres in Paris to whom he had loaned the jewel, and was killed himself by a radical mob just days later.
A Greek jeweller who acquired the stone died next, falling into a ravine; and in 1908 ownership passed to the Sultan of Turkey, Abdul Hamid II. He was overthrown in 1909. The next man to acquire the stone drowned in the November of that same year.
The last private owner was a newspaper magnate, Edward McLean, who became an alcoholic and was driven mad while the gem was in his possession. Also, one of his children died in a car accident. The jewel passed from him to Washington's Smithsonian Institute where, safe behind bullet-proof glass, it has brought no harm to anyone else.
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