...Cartier's savvy sales pitch
Based on Evalyn recollections of Pierre Cartier's story as told in her autobiography, Father Struck it Rich:

"As we all stared at that diamond, Monsieur Cartier began to tell us things he did not vouch for... that Tavernier had stolen the gem from a Hindu idol, and was cursed and torn apart by savage beasts. Since then, the diamond had brought bad luck to anyone who wore or even touched it.
Marie Antoinette

Louis XIV died a horrible death from gangrene... and we all know about the knife blade that sliced through Marie Antoinette's throat.

Lord Hope's grand nephew and heir to the diamond had plenty of troubles: his wife eloped with handsome Captain Strong. Now maybe that was not bad luck, but it was embarrassing. Monsieur Cartier was most entertaining."

Cartier: "I think, myself, that superstitions of the kind we speak about are baseless. Yet, one must admit, they are amusing..."
Pierre Cartier
"Pierre Cartier being the savvy jeweler that he was, he knew how to sell a diamond and, if not fabricate, at least greatly embellish its famous history," says Jeffrey Post, Curator of the National Gem Collection at the Smithsonian Institution. "The stories of a curse seem to date from about the time Evalyn Walsh McLean bought the diamond. Perhaps knowing that Evalyn was somewhat interested in charms, Cartier could have added the story of a curse to the whole thing. There doesn't seem to be any reference in the literature, or in the accounts of the diamond, about a curse until that time.

There was also a book that was published in 1921, attributed to the wife of Lord Francis Hope, May Yohe, which was the basis for a series of short film stories that were shown in theaters around the country. That seems to be the source of a lot of the spectacular stories and misinformation that got spread around about the Hope Diamond. And then Evelyn Walsh McLean herself loved to tell the stories, so they just kept growing from what may have been a very tiny germ of truth. Once a story starts to grow beyond its original basis in any sort of fact, it's hard to put that back into the bottle again. You know, once that genie gets out you can't just put it back in."


notorious past | savvy sales pitch | one-of-a-kind | becoming a legend
heart of gold | curses debunked | timeline

Mona Lisa
detail from Guernica
Lilies of the Valley Faberge Egg
Hope Diamond
Taj Mahal
scene from Borobudur

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