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Fa├žade of the Hotel Drouot Auction House in Paris, France circa 1852.
1908-1909
Selim Habib purchased the Hope Diamond from the faltering Joseph Frankel's Sons & Co. 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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1910
Cartier acquired the Hope Diamond

Cartier, a French jewelery house, purchased the Hope Diamond from jeweler C.N. Rosenau in 1910. The Hope Diamond arrived in the U.S. on November 23, 1910, where it was valued at $110,000 for customs plus the $10,000 duty for an unmounted gem (Patch 1999).

Pierre Cartier took on the responsibility of selling the Hope Diamond. Pierre was a talented salesman: Charming, smooth-talking, and sophisticated, he was experienced in the art of selling to wealthy customers, Americans in particular, having worked at Cartier's New York office.

By this time, the art of developing colorful narratives for famous gems was already well established. Intriguing histories helped with gem sales, and in turn, gave the purchaser an interesting tale to tell admirers at various events. Cartier thus began to fabricate a fanciful story around the Hope Diamond that included a curse, which he would pitch to potential buyers (Kurin 2006).

In Depth

Gallery

Alfred Cartier (second from right) is joined by his three sons, Jacques, Louis, and Pierre in 1910
Pierre Cartier with his wife and daughter
Timeline adapted from Post and Farges 2014 and sources therein. Updated 19 April 2017.

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