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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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1900
1910
1920
1930
1940
1950
1960
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
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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1949-1958
Winston and the Court of Jewels

In 1949, Harry Winston purchased the Hope Diamond along with the rest of the Evalyn Walsh McLean's jewelry collection. Winston incoporated McLean's jewelry into the Court of Jewels, a traveling exhibition of gems supplemented by a jewelry fashion show. Large and famous diamonds, including the Hope Diamond, the Star of the East Diamond, and the 127-carat Portuguese Diamond (now also part of the Smithsonian’s collection), were featured as part of the show. The exhibit travelled throughout America from 1949 to 1953 to teach the public about precious gems and raise money for civic and charitable organizations (Harry Winston, Inc.). Harry Winston once stated: “I want the public to know more about precious gems. With so much expensive junk jewelry around these days, people forget that a good diamond, ruby, or emerald, however small, is a possession to be prized for generations” (Tupper and Tupper 1947).

In Depth

Gallery

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.
A 1949 publicity photo for Winston's traveling Court of Jewels exhibit featuring a model wearing the Hope Diamond on her forehead. She is also wearing the Maharaja of Indore Emerald and Diamond Necklace (the lower of the two emerald necklaces), now also part of the Smithsonian's gem collection.
Brochure for Harry Winston's Court of Jewels exhibition
Portrait of Harry Winston
Timeline adapted from Post and Farges 2014 and sources therein. Updated 19 April 2017.

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