Skip to main content.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Website Search Box
Search Item

Curse of the Hope Diamond
The Misfortunes of Selim Habib

Selim Habib owned the Hope Diamond at a time when stories of a curse on the diamond were becoming popular. His own misfortunes provided fodder for these stories, perhaps no more so than when, on November 17, 1909, the New York Times reported that Habib had been killed in a shipwreck:

Selim Habib, a wealthy Turkish diamond collector and merchant, who formerly owned the famous blue Hope Diamond, was among the passengers drowned in the wreck of the French mail steamer Seyne at Singapore. This adds another to the list of misfortunes associated with the ownership of the famous gem. It is reported that he had the diamond with him (NYT 1909).

This report was wildly inaccurate. Neither Habib nor the Hope Diamond were on the steamer when it sank (although another man named Selim Habib did apparently drown in the shipwreck). In fact, Habib no longer even owned the Hope Diamond at the time of the shipwreck, having sold it in June of 1909.

[ TOP ]