Famous DiamondsLet us not be too particular. It is better to have old second-hand diamonds than none at all. - Mark Twain
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Famous Diamonds

There have been many legendary diamonds in the world. Some of them are famous because of their size or color while others are well known because of their wonderfully fascinating history. Here are a few that are notable celebrity diamonds.

The Hope Diamond

Color: Blue

The Hope Diamond was named after 1830 purchaser Henry Thomas Hope. It is probably the most well-know of the famous diamonds, because legend tells us that a curse of bad luck and death follows the large, blue diamond - not only for the owner but for all who touch it. The diamond was stolen by a man named Tavernier in India from the statue of the Hindu goddess Sita. According to legend, because he stole the diamond, Tavernier was torn apart by wild dogs on a trip to Russia. This was the first horrific death attributed to the curse.

Its color was described by Tavernier as a "beautiful violet." It was crudely cut and slightly triangular in shape. Before his death, Tavernier sold the diamond to King Louis XIV of France in 1668. Later, according to the legend, Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI were beheaded during the French Revolution because of the blue diamond's curse.

Stolen during the French Revolution, it re-surfaced in 1830 in London. Strong evidence suggested that it was recut. In 1839 it was bought by Henry Philip Hope who passed to his nephew, Henry Thomas Hope and then to his nephew's grandson, Lord Francis Hope who sold it to help pay off his debts. Lord Francis Hope married Olive Muriel Thompson in 1904. They had three children before she died suddenly in 1912, a tragedy that has been credited to The Curse.

Later, it was again sold to pay off debts by its owners, Joseph Frankels and Sons of New York City. Next it was sold to Selim Habib who put it up for auction in Paris in 1909. It did not sell at the auction, from fear of the curse, but later that year it was sold to C.H. Rosenau and then resold again to Pierre Cartier that same year. Cartier sold it to an American widow, Mrs. Edward McLean. Not long after the purchase, Edward Mclean's mother and two household servants died.  Then their nine-year old son was killed in an auto accident and their 25-year old daughter committed suicide. Edward and his wife divorced, and he died in a mental institution.

Who knows if any of this is true. But it's still fun to speculate.

The Hope diamond now resides in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington. 

Kimberley Octahedron

Color: Yellow

The Hope Diamond may be the most famous diamond in the world, but it is not the largest. The truth is, the uncut Kimberley Octahedron diamond, which is yellow, is the largest diamond in the world, weighing 616 carats. It was found in South Africa in the in 1972.

The Cullinan Diamond

Color: White

This rough gem-quality diamond was named after Sir Thomas Cullinan, the owner of the diamond mound where it was found in 1905. Weighing in at 3,106 carats it holds the record for the largest colorless diamond ever found. It was sold to the Transvall government, a province in South Africa that no longer exists, who later gave it to King Edward VII of England as a birthday gift in 1907. The King commissioned the Asscher brothers to cut jewels from it, the most famous being the pear-shaped Star of Africa at 550.20 carats, which is now in the Royal Scepter in the Tower of London. It was actually cut into 9 large stones and about 100 smaller ones, all flawless. They are now part of the British crown jewels.

Koh-i-Noor (also known as the Mountain of Light)

Color: Yellow

This diamond has the oldest recorded history, believed to be found 4,000 years ago. At that time, it was said to weigh 793 carats. It is a diamond that was never bought or sold, but changed many hands. Legend tell us that the Mogul emperors possessed this diamond, but their empire broke up, the diamond made its way into India, and from there to Afghanistan. Later it journeyed back to India. There, the East India Company took it and presented it to Queen Victoria. It is part of the British Crown jewels and now resides in the Tower of London.

The Koh-i-noor is said to be cursed and has left a trail that speaks of greed, power, murder, chaos and sadness. The diamond had long carried with it a curse that misfortune would always befall its owner, though any woman wearing it would remain unscathed. 

The Tiffany Diamond

Color: Yellow

This rare vivid yellow diamond is the largest in existence at 128.51 carats. It was cut from a 287.52 carat crystal found in 1887 in South Africa's De Beers Mine. The diamond is named after Tiffany's Jewelers, who bought the original uncut stone. It remains in their possession. The Tiffany Diamond has been seen by millions of people. It is on continuous display in Tiffany's store and has also been seen at numerous exhibitions including the Chicago Columbian in 1893, the Pan American in 1901, the Chicago Century of Progress in 1933-34 and the New York World's Fair in 1939.

The Orloff Diamond

Color: White with a faint bluish-green tinge

This diamond has been described as being shaped like half of a hen's egg and it weighs 199.90 carats. It can be traced back to the 18th century where it was once the eye of a Hindu god residing in the Brahma temple in southern India.

In 1775 it was given to Catherine II of Russia by one of her lovers, Grigori Orloff for whom it was named. He had hoped that she would reinstate him to his previous position in her Court.


Other Diamonds

There are several famous diamonds, among them, the Hope Diamond, the Kimberley Octahedron, the Cullinan Diamond, the Tiffany Diamond and the Orloff Diamond.

Baseball Diamonds

The area of a baseball field that is enclosed by 3 bases and home plate.

A Diamond in the Rough

An idiom: One having exceptionally good qualities or the potential for greatness but lacking polish and refinement.

A Suit of Playing Cards

A playing card in the minor suit of diamonds

Neil Diamond

An American singer and songwriter

Lou Diamond Phillips

An American actor

A Diamond is Forever

This is the title of the 1956 Ian Fleming's James Bond novel (1956). Agent 007 goes to Las Vegas to investigate the disappearance of diamonds in transit and discovers the involvement of his archenemy, Blofeld. Actually, this phrase originates from an advertising slogan for De Beers Consolidated Mines based in South Africa. De Beers wanted to promote the tradition of diamond engagement rings. The catchphrase was the brainchild of N. W. Ayer advertising agency in Chicago.


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