This recounts the narrative of a necklace steeped in legend—a 115-carat blue diamond discovered in India’s Kollur mine in 1673—named with hope: the Hope Diamond.
When Pierre Cartier, the grandson of the founder of the luxury Maison Cartier, acquired the remarkable Golconda diamond in 1910, it already bore an ominous reputation, with numerous previous owners meeting tragic fates.
Despite the diamond’s infamous history, Pierre Cartier took the risk to entice American heiress Evalyn Walsh McLean, a lady with a penchant for jewelry. In 1911, she succumbed to the allure and purchased the Hope Diamond for the substantial sum of $180,000 (equivalent to about $5 million today).
Evalyn adorned the Hope Diamond at events, during travels, and even in the swimming pool. She would organize garden luncheons, hiding the necklace for a game of ‘Find the Hope.’ Despite the ominous tales, she asserted, “Unlucky objects are lucky for me,” and even had the diamond blessed in a church, where, they say, lightning flashed during the ceremony, but Evalyn remained undeterred.
A few years later, tragedy struck Evalyn’s life. Her 9-year-old son was fatally hit by a car, her husband Ned’s infidelity led to divorce, and financial woes compelled her to pawn the Hope Diamond repeatedly, although she always redeemed it. In 1946, Evalyn’s daughter Evie passed away from a drug overdose.
Until her death in 1947 from pneumonia, Evalyn persisted in wearing the Hope Diamond. While she bequeathed it to her family, they chose to sell her jewelry collection. American jeweler Harry Winston acquired all of Evalyn’s jewels in 1949 and subsequently donated the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. Today, it resides there, encapsulating tales both spoken and unspoken, captivating visitors who pause to contemplate its enigmatic history.