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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 forced to put the diamond up for sale in 1901.
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1858
The French Blue Connection

Today, we are certain that the Hope Diamond is the recut French Blue. However, it took 46 years after Francillon described the modern Hope for someone to connect the two diamonds. The French gemologist Charles Barbot was first, speculating in his 1858 book, Traité Complet de Pierres Précieuses, that the Hope Diamond was cut from the French Blue (Post and Farges 2014).

Later authors continued in this track. In 1870, Charles W. King wrote about a likely connection between the two blue diamonds in his book, The Natural History of the Precious Stones and of the Precious Metals. On the subject of “Hope’s Blue Diamond” King writes “suspected to be that of the French Regalia (stolen in 1792), and then weighing 67 car., and afterwards re-cut as a brilliant to its present weight of 44½ carat.”

In 1882, Edwin Streeter wrote about the diamond’s provenance in his book, The Great Diamonds of the World: Their History and Romance:

The disappearance of Tavernier’s rough blue from the French regalia, followed by the unexplained appearance of a cut gem of precisely the same delicate blue tint, and answering in size to the original after due allowance made for loss in cutting, leaves little or no room for doubting the identity of the two stones… It thus appears that the rough un-cut Tavernier, the French “Blue,” lost in 1792, and the “Hope,” are one and the same stone. (Streeter 1882, p. 214).

In Depth

Gallery

Computer models depicting the history of the Hope Diamond, including (counterclockwise from top) the Tavernier, the French Blue, and the Hope Diamond.
Title page from Streeter’s 1882 book The Great Diamonds of the World: Their History and Romance.
Timeline adapted from Post and Farges 2014 and sources therein. Updated 19 April 2017.

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