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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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1813-1823
Mr. Eliason's Diamond

Several other British naturalists and gem experts made note of a large blue diamond in London in the years following Francillon's memo. In the 1813 and 1815 editions of his book, A Treatise on Diamonds and Precious Stones, mineralogist and gem connoisseur John Mawe writes that “there is at this time a superlatively fine blue diamond, of above 44 carats, in possession of an individual in London, which may be considered as matchless, and of course of arbitrary value.” Similarly, James Sowerby, a naturalist known for his illustrations of minerals and other objects, wrote that “Daniel Eliason, Esq. has in London, a nearly perfect blue Brilliant, of 44½ carats, that is superior to any other coloured diamond known” (Sowerby 1817).

By 1823, the diamond was no longer in Eliason's possession. Mawe returned to the subject of the blue diamond in the 1823 edition of his book, writing that:

A superlatively fine blue diamond weighing 44 carats and valued at £30,000, formerly the property of Mr. Eliason, an eminent diamond merchant, is now said to be in the possession of our most gracious sovereign… The unrivaled gem is of a deep sapphire blue, and from its rarity and color, might have been estimated at a higher sum. It has found its most worthy destination in passing into the possession of a monarch, whose refined taste has ever been conspicuous in the highest degree” (Mawe 1823)

According to Mawe, then, Eliason had parted with the diamond and it had come into the possession of George IV, the King of England. However, no evidence linking the Hope Diamond to the king has been found in the British royal archives, and we do not know whether George IV ever possessed it as either owner or borrower (Post and Farges 2014).

Gallery

The Hope Diamond.
Plate from Mawe, 1823 showing several unusual diamonds. Both 4 and 5 are the Hope. The original caption read
1816 portrait of James Sowerby
An 1822 portrait of King George IV of England, by artist Thomas Lawrence, shows the king wearing a neckpiece with a blue stone set in the center.  Records from the British Royal archives indicate that the blue center stone in the emblem of the Order of the Golden Fleece depicted here is not the blue diamond, as some have suggested, but rather a sapphire.
Title page from Exotic Mineralogy by James Sowerby
Timeline adapted from Post and Farges 2014 and sources therein. Updated 19 April 2017.

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