Despite its name, the hope diamond seems to only bring bad luck and misfortune to its owners. This is due to, according to some dubious reports, a curse that inhibits the diamond. There is supposedly a long list of tragedies that have befell those who have owned it, such as suicides, coup d’états, torture and destitution. Unfortunately, for those who love the supernatural, most of these are unconfirmed and have no historical sources to back them up. Although, the stone was owned by the infamous Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, who were beheaded during the French Revolution which brought about the fall of the last absolute monarchy in France. There is not much evidence to suggest that this was down to the stone, but rather unequal taxation across France and famine in the previous summers. The curse legend can be attributed to the stones tendency to exhibit a red glow when exposed to short wave light rays, which is due to the traces of boron which can be found within its composition.
The SpoonMaker’s Diamond
The fact that this gem is so huge is not why it gains its fame, but rather the interesting legends that surround its origins. According to the tale, a fisherman near Istanbul found the diamond along the shore of a riverbank. After carrying it around in his pocket for a few days he took his findings to a local merchant, who told him that it was just a piece of glass. The merchant, apparently taking pity on the fisherman, offered him three spoons for his troubles, despite the stone being ‘worthless’, which the fisherman gratefully accepted. The merchant then sold the gem to a vizier for a hefty sum of gold, scamming the poor fisherman. This is how the gem got the name ‘spoon maker’.
The Great Star of Africa
This diamond gained its fame for its immense size, earning the title of largest cut diamond in the entire world. Otherwise known as the Cullinan Diamond, it is a whopping 3,106 carats and has 74 facets and was originally discovered in Transvaal, South Africa in 1905. The stone can now be found within the Tower of London set with The Royal Sceptre, after it was given to Edward VII as a gift, which he wasn’t going to accept until Winston Churchill persuaded him to.
The Orlov Diamond
The Orlov diamond has a truly extraordinary history, travelling from an ancient Indian temple to war torn Russia. According to legend, the diamond was originally stolen from India, and was located in the eye socket of the presiding deity statue of the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple. Amazingly, it is widely reported that the stone was stolen by a French grenadier who posed as a converted Hindu to gain access to the temple and run away with the diamond. He then fled to Madras, where he found protection of the British army and a buyer for the diamond. The stone passed from merchant to merchant and eventually found its way to the hands of a Russian count known as Grigory Orlov. The count is best known for his relationship with Catherine the Great, who he helped rise to power, and would eventually gift the stone to her. According to another legend, during Napoleon’s invasion of Russia, his men tried to steal the diamond, but were scared off by a ghost that apparently rose to defend the diamond! It is now housed in a precious diamond collection in the Kremlin building in Russia.