...curses debunked
According to Smithsonian Curator, Jeffrey Post: "The curse is a fascinating part of the story of the Hope Diamond that has helped to make the diamond as famous as it is. But as a scientist, as a curator, I don't believe in curses.
Jean Baptiste Tavernier


For example, poor John Baptiste Tavernier, who was supposedly ripped apart by a pack of savage dogs on his last visit to India... Well, in fact, he made himself quite a fortune selling diamonds to French royalty, and lived up to a very respectable old age and died in Russia."

In his many treks from France to India, Tavernier established an extremely profitable trade relationship with some of the region's most powerful rulers.
page from Tavernier's journals
Burgling a sacred icon hardly seems the kind of risk such a man would've taken. Tavernier made meticulous drawings of the stones he traded, later publishing them in a book. His top, bottom and side views of the large blue stone he brought from India reveal a shape much too flat and irregular to have been used for an idol's eye.

"And people look at Marie Antoinette," continues Post, "and they say, 'Well, here's another example of what happened to someone who had once worn this Blue Diamond.' But the insignia of the Royal Order of the Golden Fleece was a piece that was worn only by the King for special ceremonial occasions. It would never have been worn by Marie Antoinette." Though it could be argued that King Louis had some bad luck too...

Sultan of Turkey
Even Sultan Abdul Hamid II, who owned the diamond before Cartier,was more likely to have lost the Ottoman Empire through bad management than the curse of the infamous diamond. Most of the other rumors spread by May Yohe and Cartier are substantially unfounded, and hardly attributable to the curse of a diamond, given that everybody has to die sometime.

Post continues: "Almost monthly I get letters from people who like to think that everything bad that's happened to the United States for the past forty years has to do with the fact that the Hope Diamond now belongs to the United States. Whether it's that Dole lost the election, or that Clinton won the election, or whatever – it all depends on your perspective. Here at the Smithsonian, we've always looked at the Hope Diamond as a source of good luck. Since it was given to the Smithsonian in 1958, the national gem collection has grown tremendously in stature. And it really was the gift of the Hope Diamond that put us on the map and helped the collection to grow.

For people who love to believe in curses – as far as Evalyn Walsh McLean is concerned – both the tragedy as well as the joy of her life added tremendous fuel to the whole fire about the Hope Diamond. I mean, she did have a fairly tragic life. And for good or for bad, she had a real impact on the Hope Diamond, and she's going to be part of the lore, part of the legend, forever."


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