The Hope Diamond

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The Hope Diamond in Smithsonian Museum.World's Largest Blude Diamond A Rare but Cursed Treasure.Diamond is the strongest mineral found on earth. Diamond is also the most precious and the most priceless jewel. In Europe, during the middle age, diamonds were assumed to be the reflectors of Jesus Christ. In Myanmar, since many eras ago, diamonds were regarded as the most sacred elements on earth, and were offered to pagodas as the Diamond Orb, located at the topmost of the pagoda.

The magnificent Shwe Dagon Pagoda has a Diamond Orb with the height of 1 foot 10 inches, and the diameter of 31.4 inches. A total 4,351 diamonds are embedded in it, with the total Rati of 2,000. On top of the Orb, a big diamond, weighing 83 Rati is attached.
A real diamond is clear like crystal, and sparkles brightly when cut perfectly. The value of the diamonds changes in the hands of the diamond cutters. The better the cut, the more the glitter.
Diamonds are mostly known to be in transparent color, but there are some diamonds found in colors. The colors are such as light gray, yellowish, brownish, and greenish. Some other very rare colors are reddish, pinkish and bluish. The bluish diamond is often mistaken as sapphire. In Myanmar, there were a fact about the blue diamond which caused an exotic case to the world. The case started from the diamond embedded on the forehead of a Buddha Image in Ananda Temple, Bagan. The diamond was stolen from the image and many people who had the diamond were cursed and ended their lives with unexpected deaths. The background history of the blue diamond still remains a mystery.

The Blue Diamond and Joseph Tavernier
Joseph Tavernier was a rich French gems merchant, who came frequently to India for trading. As he came to India and crossed to Myanmar, he met a Chieftain. The Chieftain was Mine Hsoe Maha Yaza Sawbwar who was a wealthy man and was well known as a collector of precious gems and stones, in the region.
One day when Joseph Tavernier visited the palace of the Mine Hsoe Maha Yaza Sawbwar. The Chieftain showed him one of his jewels, which was the precious royal blue diamond from his depository. Joseph was amazed, when he saw the blue diamond and started to praise about the beauty and the value of the diamond. Then the Chieftain told him that the stone he had is incomparable to the Blue Diamond embedded on the forehead of the Buddha Image in the Ananda Temple at Bagan.
Joseph could not resist seeing the diamond and came to Bagan through many difficulties and dangers.
He offered gifts and other offertories to the Myanmar King and started to praise about the Blue Diamond that he had heard about. He told about the dangerous journey he made to Bagan, just to see the priceless stone. Then he requested for permission to see the diamond. The King granted his wish and let him see the diamond at the Ananda Temple. The board of trustees was monks who guarded the Ananda temple.
The monks of the board showed Joseph not only the diamond embedded in the Buddha but also other jewels in the temple.
As soon as Joseph saw the Blue Diamond, his greed grew higher and higher that he could stop thinking about the diamond and at the same time, he started to plan how to steal it. He found out that the best way was to be a part of the board of trustees, so he asked permission to become a monk. He used tricks saying that the Budhha's teaching mostly overwhelmed him and wanted to become a monk. The board members accepted his requested and granted him to become a monk.
So, Joseph, now the Buddhist monk, started his duties to guard the temple with two other monks.
One night, when the time was right for him, Joseph strangled the other two monks, and stole the Blue Diamond from the Temple.

The Blue Diamond and the Goldsmith
The gems merchant Joseph Tavernier tried to sell the diamond that he stole in France, but no one was ready to buy it. So, he went to Antwerp city and showed his stone to one of the goldsmith. The Blue Diamond weighed more than 100 Rati (nearly an ounce) and the color was amazing. But the goldsmith said that there were some damaged parts and if it was cut into two and to make some polishing, the diamond will be more precious. So, Joseph left the diamond and went to India again. On his way to India, a tiger killed him, and that was the end of Joseph Tavernier.
While in Antwerp, the goldsmith cut the diamond into two and replenished it again. He waited for Joseph, but the goldsmith was killed by one of his assistant. His assistant ran away with the diamonds but robbers killed him on his way to another city. After that the story of the diamond was lost for a while.

The Blue Diamond and King Louis (XVI)
Strangely, the story of the Blue Diamond appeared again during the reign of the French King, Louis the XVI. King Louis XVI gave his queen Marie Antoinette the diamond and it was embedded on the crown of the queen. The diamond was marked as a national treasure of the French colony. There was a great match between the precious diamond and the beautiful queen. But the greatnesses did not last for long.
The French revolution started and King Louis XIV was dethroned. In 1782, the French developed a National Constitution with new rules and regulations, demolishing the Monarchy rules and the Convention declared a Republic of the country.In 1793, Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI were beheaded.
The crown with the blue diamond and other royal jewels were attained in the Royal Palace Museum for many years. But during the reign of terror, thieves broke into the museum and many precious types of attire were stolen. The blue diamond was also stolen and was the news of the diamond was lost again.

The Blue Diamond and Sir Henry Thomas Hope
The diamond stolen from the French Museum was sold to an English jeweler named Fox. The seller of the stone was unknown. His son stole the diamond from Fox but soon he killed himself. Before he died, he sold the diamond to a man named Francis with a very low price.
Francis then again sold the stone to Daniel Elson. When Daniel went to see Francis again after buying the stone, Francis was found to be dead in his own bed. Daniel kept the diamond until 1830. Then he sold the diamond to Sir Henry Thomas Hope with the price of £18,000. Hope was a millionaire who bought the diamond to make a necklace and to give it as a present to his wife on her birthday. Hope did not believe in spells and curses, so he named the diamond as the "Hope Diamond". He gave the necklace to his wife, but later on their only son died in a car accident. Hope too died soon with an unexpected death. The Hope family went bankrupt and faced many unexpected dangers.

The Blue Diamond and The Dancer
It was 1908, some years before the World War I, the news of the Blue Diamond emerged again. A jeweler named Claude sold the diamond to the Russian Royal blood Prince Ivan Kanitovski. Unfortunately, Claude never got the whole amount of the diamond and he killed himself too.
Prince Ivan Kanitovski gave the diamond to a girl whom he was in love with. She was a famous French Dancer who was also loved by her audience. After accepting the diamond from the Prince, she was killed on stage while performing. As the ill fate follows, the Prince was also killed on the streets of Paris, after two days of his beloved dancer's death. The killer was unknown and the fact that killed him was also unknown.

The Blue Diamond and The Sultan of Turkey
Again, the Blue Diamond was in the hand of a Greek jeweler. He sold the stone to the Sultan of Turkey, Abdul Hamid II. The curse still carries on and more deaths occurred. The Greek couple that sold the diamond died in an accident. Also that the Sultan who bought the diamond, went crazy and died.
The son of the Sultan ruled the throne of Turkey after his father's death, together with the diamond in his possession. He like many of the diamond's previous owners met an untimely death by the Young Turk Revolution.

The Blue Diamond and Mrs. McLean
In 1911, from an American jeweler, Mrs. McLean bought the diamond necklace. At that time, the price of the diamond was £ 52,000. Soon after buying the necklace, Mrs. McLean's son Vinson McLean died in a car crash. After all these happenings, the gems merchants and jewelers accepted the Hope Diamond to be really cursed.>

The Blue Diamond and Kodak Millionaire
Eastman Kodak Company is a worldwide known company. The owner of the company was George Eastman. He was the first man to invent the easy to use Roll Film in the cameras. He became a millionaire with those products. He also invented the Kodak cameras.
George Eastman bought the Blue Diamond before World War II, during 1929. He offered the highest price and possessed the diamond. After some times, he became fed up of the world and the things around him. The Kodak company that he owned alone was then divided into shares and sold to public. He donated millions of dollars to hospitals. In 1931, he awarded the first price of the photography with US$ 30,000. Many other prices were awarded to the worldwide participants in the contest.
Soon after the event, George Eastman killed himself. In his death will, he had written that he had already done what should be done and he did not want to live any more.
As the legend goes with its curse, the blue diamond was in the possession of the last owner, Harry Winston. He donated the diamond to the Smithsonian Institution in the United States of American.
So the curse of the Blue Diamond from Ananda Temple of Bagan seems to be ended at the Smithsonian Museum.

Reference: Wint Htel, The Blue Diamond from Bagan and the Cursed
If you would like to know more about the above topic, please refer to

1) Blue Mystery : The Story of the Hope Diamond
by Susanne Steinem Patch
ISBN: 0810927977

2) Hope : Adventures of a Diamond
ISBN: 0345444868

ISBN: 0394518306



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