Many of the world’s most famous diamonds began as royal jewels, belonging to ruling families. These royal jewels, passed down generations, survived to be displayed to this day.
The Hope Diamond
Of all the famous diamonds, the Hope Diamond is easily one of the most recognizable. It is a blue, cushion cut diamond weighing at 45.52 carats. Later it was claimed to have a bit of grey also. Currently in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, the Hope Diamond was originally owned by Jean-Baptise Tavernier, a French merchant traveler, who then sold it to Louis XIV in 1669. However, soon after Louis XIV’s death, the Hope Diamond disappeared. Found again in 1812 in the possession of London merchant Daniel Eliason, it eventually found its way to the Hope family, where it remained until Lord Francis Hope sold it. The Hope Diamond again changed hands many times until it was recut by Henry Winston and given to the Smithsonian.
The Hope Diamond had a few other names before it was actually called the Hope Diamond. It was originally called the Tavernier Blue, and was in the rough shape of a triangle. When Louis XIV bought it to add to his collection of royal jewels, it was re-cut into the Blue Diamond of the Crown of France, or the French Blue.
The Hope Diamond is supposedly cursed, blamed for terrible things that have happened to its owners because it was stolen from a Hindu temple, where it was one of two eyes on a statue. Jewelers who have handled the Hope Diamond are also subject to the curse.
The Heart of Eternity
As one example of a famous diamond not part of a collection of royal jewels, the Heart of Eternity was mined from the Premier Diamond Mine in South Africa. Cut by the Steinmetz Group, it is a fancy vivid blue heart cut, weighed at 27.64 carats. Originally owned by De Beers, it was part of the Millennium Jewels Collection display. The Heart of Eternity was on display at the Smithsonian in the summer of 2003, as a loan from a private collector. It is believed that Sayyid Qadri purchased the Heart of Eternity during the Millennium Jewels Collection display.
Many say that the Heart of the Ocean from the hit movie Titanic is based on a combination of the Heart of Eternity and the Hope Diamond.
The Florentine Diamond
The Florentine Diamond is a yellow, irregularly cut diamond weighing 137.7 carats. It was supposedly among other famous diamonds cut by Lodewyk Van Berken for Charles the Bold, rumored to be wearing it when he died in battle, allowing a foot soldier to pick it off his body and sell it. The Florentine Diamond changed hands multiple times, but was eventually found in the possessions of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, of the Medici family. When they passed, the Florentine Diamond was given to the Hapsburgs by marriage and was put onto their crown. Along with other royal jewels, it was stolen after the fall of the Austrian Empire, brought into South America and then the United States. Allegedly, the Florentine Diamond was eventually recut and sold.