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Drawing of the blue diamond sold by Tavernier to King Louis XIV
1668-1669
King Louis XIV of France purchased a spectacular blue diamond from Jean-Baptiste Tavernier
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Computer photorealistic simulation of the French Blue as it appeared when set in gold and mounted on a stick
1669-1672
Louis XIV ordered Tavernier's Diamond recut, producing a ~69-carat heart-shaped diamond known today as the French Blue.
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A color illustration of the emblem of the Order of the Golden Fleece. The emblem contained several spectacular gems, including the French Blue diamond and the Côte de Bretagne spinel.
1749
King Louis XV had the French Blue Diamond set into the Order of the Golden Fleece by Parisian jeweler Pierre-André Jacqumin
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The return of the royal family to Paris on June 25th, 1791. Engraving by Jean Duplessis-Bertaux, after a drawing by Jean-Louis Prieur.
1791
King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were captured attempting to flee France during the French Revolution. The royal jewels were turned over to the revolutionary government and housed in the Garde-Meuble.
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Illustration of the Garde-Meuble from sometime between 1787 and 1792
1792
During the chaos of the French Revolution, the French Blue Diamond was stolen during a week-long looting of the French Crown Jewels from the Garde-Meuble.
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Image of a page from the Francillon Memo dated September 19, 1812 with a drawing of what appears to be the Hope Diamond.
1812
A deep blue diamond weighing approximately 45.5 carats appeared in London, where it was described by the London jeweler John Francillon. His description is the first reference to the Hope Diamond as we know it today.
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Plate from Mawe, 1823 showing several unusual diamonds. Both 4 and 5 are the Hope. The original caption read
1813-1823
Several British naturalists wrote about Eliason's blue diamond. A later account placed the diamond in the possession of George IV.
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Portrait of Henry Philip Hope from 1823
1839
A blue diamond is described in the gem collection catalogue of Henry Philip Hope. The diamond thereafter bears his name.
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Illustration of the Crystal Palace from Dickinson's Comprehensive Pictures of the Great Exhibition of 1851, published 1854. The Crystal Palace, designed by architect Joseph Paxton, was 1,848 feet long and 484 feet wide.
1851
The Hope Diamond was displayed at the Crystal Palace for the Great London Exhibition
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Computer models depicting the history of the Hope Diamond, including (counterclockwise from top) the Tavernier, the French Blue, and the Hope Diamond.
1858
Charles Barbot published the first written speculation that the Hope Diamond is the recut French Blue.
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Portrait of Lord Henry Francis Hope Pelham-Clinton Hope
1887
Lord Francis Hope, the grandson of Henry Thomas Hope, inherited the Hope Diamond. Burdened by debt, he was force to put the diamond up for sale in 1901.
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Colored postcard showing the Kronprinz Wilhelm, the German trans-Atlantic passenger liner that Simon Frankel used to transport the Hope Diamond back to New York with him in 1901.
1901-1907
The Hope Diamond was sold by Lord Francis Hope and passed through the hands of several gem dealers and jewelry merchants before ending up in New York City.
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Façade of the Hotel Drouot Auction House in Paris, France circa 1852.
1908-1909
Selim Habib purchased the Hope Diamond from the faltering Joseph Frankels & Sons. Habib's later misfortunes fueled a growing myth about a curse on the Hope Diamond.
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Pierre Cartier with his wife and daughter
1910
The French jewelry house Cartier purchased the Hope Diamond and began seeking a buyer.
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Evalyn Walsh McLean wearing the Hope Diamond as a pendant on a diamond necklace.
1912
Pierre Cartier sold the Hope Diamond to Ned and Evalyn Walsh McLean for $180,000. Before he made the sale, he commissioned a contemporary setting to make it more appealing to the McLeans.
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Evalyn Walsh McLean’s jewelry: 74 pieces purchased by Harry Winston, Inc. The Hope diamond necklace is upper left and the Star of the East Diamond necklace is upper right.
1947-1949
Evalyn Walsh McLean passed away in 1947 at the age of 60. Two years later, the Hope Diamond and the rest of her jewelry collection were purchased by Harry Winston, Inc.
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Portrait of Harry Winston
1949-1958
Harry Winston purchased the Hope Diamond from Evalyn Walsh McLean’s estate in 1949, exhibited the Hope Diamond worldwide in his Court of Jewels exhibit, and then donated the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institution in 1958.
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The U.S. National Museum (later the National Musem of Natural History) as it appeared in 1917
1958
The Hope Diamond was donated to the National Gem Collection by Harry Winston, Inc. where it was put on display in a new exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History
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The Louvre Museum in Paris
1962
The Hope Diamond was exhibited at the Louvre Museum in Paris, France
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Hope Diamond mounted in a spiderweb in a rose bush for the Rand Easter Show in South Africa in 1965
1965
The Hope Diamond traveled to Johannesburg, South Africa for the Rand Easter Show
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The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City
1982
The Hope Diamond was displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for the 50th Anniversary of Harry Winston, Inc.
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The Harry Winston Gallery in the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems & Minerals at the National Museum of Natural History
1997
The Hope Diamond was put on display in the new Harry Winston Gallery at the National Museum of Natural History
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The Hope Diamond in the Embracing Hope setting
2009-2010
The Hope Diamond was exhibited unmounted and then set in a temporary commemorative necklace designed by Harry Winston, Inc. to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Hope Diamond at the Smithsonian.
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The Hope Diamond in its modern setting. The setting was designed by Cartier prior to the sale of the Hope to Evalyn Walsh McLean in 1912.
2015
The Hope Diamond is on exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History
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1668-1669
Tavernier's Diamond

King Louis XIV was fond of beautiful and rare gems, especially diamonds. In December of 1668, the explorer Jean-Baptiste Tavernier met with the king to share a collection of diamonds collected on his recently completed trip to India. In February of 1669, King Louis XIV purchased the lot of diamonds, including a large blue diamond weighing 112 316 old French carats (approximately 115 modern metric carats) for 220,000 livres (Bapst 1889). In recognition of this transaction, the king honored Tavernier with the rank of nobleman (Morel 1988).

It is commonly assumed that Tavernier acquired the diamond on his last journey to India (1664-1668) and that it came from the Kollur Mine of the Golconda region. However, evidence for both source and timing is circumstanial, as Tavernier makes no mention of the acquisition of the diamond in the published accounts of his journeys. The Kollur Mine is considered a likely source because it was known for producing large and colored diamonds (Post and Farges 2014), but there were several diamond mines throughout India during the time of Tavernier’s voyages, and the diamond could have come from any one of them. The diamond must at least have originated in India, as India was the only commercial source of diamonds in Tavernier's time.

In Depth

Gallery

Drawing of the blue diamond sold by Tavernier to King Louis XIV
Engraving of Jean-Baptiste Tavernier
Drawing of twenty diamonds sold by Tavernier to King Louis XIV. The upper left corner (A) shows three views of the blue diamond that would later be cut into the French Blue, and ultimately, the Hope Diamond.
Timeline adapted from Post and Farges 2014 and sources therein. Updated 24 June 2015.

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