Friday 05 May 2023

Hope - Sapphire - Fancy Dark Grayish Blue - 45.52 ct

The Hope diamond, a deep blue sapphire colored diamond, is currently held at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

As is often the case, several hypotheses have been put forward concerning its origin. And once more, it would seem that Tavernier was behind its discovery. Some say Tavernier brought the stone back from the Golconde mines during his sixth voyage to India, and that he sold it to Louis XIV in 1669. Others think that he bought it in Venice and then sold it to the King. Whatever the story, Louis XIV had the Hope stone cut and set in the crown jewels, which subsequently became the richest gem collection in Europe, possibly in the world.

The diamond stayed in the hands of the Kings of France until the unfortunate reign of Louis XVI, who was decapitated in 1793 during the French revolution. The Hope had been stolen several months earlier, while it was being kept in the Garde-Meuble in Paris.

Very little is known of its whereabouts between the time it was stolen and the time it was bought by the English banker Henry Philip Hope (hence its name) not long before 1825. After this, the diamond changed hands together with its owners' changes of fortune, until 1949 when it was finally purchased by the famous American jeweler Harry Winston. He offered it to the Smithsonian Institute with the intent of starting a new collection that would, he hoped, rival with that kept in the Tower of London.