Thirteen People Who Fell Victim To The Hope Diamond Curse

Published January 3, 2018

If the Hope Diamond curse is to be believed, it has been responsible for revolts, decapitations, and bankruptcy.

Drawing of Prince Ivan Kanitovsk
Painting of Jean-Baptiste Tavernier
King Louis XIV Hope diamond curse
Nicholas Fouquet Hope Diamond curse
Thirteen People Who Fell Victim To The Hope Diamond Curse
View Gallery

Deep in the heart of the National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C., there lies a diamond.

It's huge, heavy, and cool to the touch. It's a deep, inky blue color, but hit it with ultraviolet light and it emits an eerie red glow that lingers long after the light source has been switched off.

The diamond has gone by many names. Le Bleu de France, The Tavernier Blue, and Le Bijou du Roi. You probably know it as the Hope Diamond.

For centuries it has been one of the most famous diamonds in the world, at points belonging to some of the most influential monarchs in history and residing in some of the most important collections.

As well known as the diamond is, the curse that follows it through history may be even more famous and has inspired countless books.

The Hope Diamond's bloody history begins many, many centuries ago.

Legend has it that the diamond once lay in the statue of the goddess Sita, wife of Rama, the 7th Avatar of Vishnu, serving as her eye. One day, a thief gouged the diamond out, keeping it for himself.

After stealing the gem from the statue, the thief himself was robbed, and the diamond passed to the hands of one Jacques Colet. Colet ended up killing himself, and the diamond passed to a Russian prince, a Turkish Sultan, and a royal jeweler. They would all meet ugly, bloody deaths.

The exact method of passing down the diamond is disputed, but it's likely that in almost every instance, the gem was stolen. The same goes for French gem merchant Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, with whom the gem's modern history begins.

Since Tavernier returned to France from India, with the gem in tow, misery has befallen anyone who dares wear it. The curse does not dictate that all die, as some have survived, though their lives were filled with incredible misfortune.

Some say that the diamond is nothing but a stone and that the unlucky owners are simply that -- unlucky. But, as with every legend, there are those who believe and those who do not dare touch the stone.

Those who do believe in the Hope Diamond curse fear that the ancient Indian goddess Sita will come calling, looking for revenge for the defiling of her statue all those centuries ago.

Now that you've read about the Hope Diamond curse, read about the unlucky people who fell victim of King Tut's Curse. Then, read about the Antwerp Diamond Heist, which resulted in the disappearance of $100 million dollars in merchandise.

Katie Serena
A former staff writer at All That's Interesting, Katie Serena has also published work in Salon.