800 BC
Accounts report that diamond mining is active in India.
Indian mining towns are among the wealthiest cities in the world
Gem merchant Jean Baptiste Tavernier makes his first of six trips to the Orient.
Tavernier first reports possession of an incredible blue diamond ("the Tavernier Blue") weighing 112 carats (nearly size of man's fist), though he never mentions how he acquired the gem.
Tavernier sells the diamond to King Louis XIV of France.
The Tavernier Blue is cut to just over sixty-seven carats by Sieur Pitau, the King's jeweler and becomes known as the "Blue Diamond of the Crown" or the "French Blue."
Louis XV orders court jeweler Andre Jacquemin to reset the French Blue into a piece of ceremonial jewelry for the Royal Order of the Golden Fleece.
The French Blue, as well as other crown jewels, are stolen from the treasury during the French revolution.
John Françillion writes a memorandum documenting the presence in London of a large blue diamond weighing over fourty-five carats. At about the same time an illustrated perspectus for the sale of the diamond is found, signed by the gem's owner, Daniel Eliason. Because of its size and unusual color, it is speculated that the diamond was cut from the French Blue.
Sir Thomas Lawrence paints a portrait of George IV of England in which the King is wearing the insignia of the Royal Order of the Golden Fleece set with a large blue stone bearing a striking resemblence to the blue diamond.
George IV dies, his estate encumbered by great debt.
A large blue diamond, now called the "Hope Diamond," appears in the gem catalogue of Henry Philip Hope, but no history of the stone is presented.
1841 Following the death of Lord Hope and much litigation, the stone is passed on to Hope's nephew Henry Thomas Hope.
Evalyn Walsh is born.
To pay his debts, Lord Henry Thomas Hope sells the Hope Diamond to Simon Frankel, a New York jeweler, for $148,000. The Hope Diamond remains in the safe of Joseph Frankel and Sons for six years.
The Walsh family moves into a mansion on Massachusetts Avenue in Washington, DC.
Evalyn Walsh marries Edward (Ned) McLean, heir to the Washington Post newspaper fortune.
Turkish Sultan Abdul Hamid II purchases the Hope Diamond – reportedly for $400,000.
Evalyn and Ned McLean depart on a worldwide honeymoon trip. While in Paris, Evalyn buys the Star of East, a 94.8 carat white diamond, from Cartier for $120,000.
The Turkish Sultan puts the Hope Diamond up for sale.
Evalyn gives birth to Vinson, known in the press as "The Hundred Million Dollar Baby."
While on another trip to Paris, Evalyn Walsh McLean is visited by Pierre Cartier, who attempts to sell her the Hope Diamond.
After resetting the stone, Cartier, the "Prince of Jewelers" travels to Washington and sells the Hope Diamond to Evalyn for 180,000.
Evalyn's mother-in-law dies of pneumonia.
The McLean family moves to their new country estate, called "Friendship," where Evalyn hosts many extravagant parties for Washington society.
Evalyn's son, Vinson, is hit by an automobile in front of his home and dies shortly thereafter.
May Yohe publishes a fanciful account of the diamond's "dark past" in her book, The Mystery of the Hope Diamond.
Evalyn and Ned are separated.
The Washington Post is sold at auction for $825,000.
Ned McLean dies in a sanatorium from brain atrophy due to alcohol saturation.
Evalyn's only daughter dies of a drug overdose at the age of twenty-five.
Evalyn Walsh McLean dies at the age of sixty.
New York jewler, Harry Winston, buys the estate jewelry of Evalyn Walsh McLean, including the Star of the East and the Hope Diamond. He sends the collection on a nine year good will tour of the United States.
Harry Winston donates the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institution.
The Hope Diamond is exhibited for a month at the Louvre.
The Hope diamond is exhibited at the Rand Easter Show in South Africa.
The Hope Diamond is loaned to Harry Winston Inc. as part of the firm's 50th anniversary celebration.
After extensive remodeling of the display area, the Hope Diamond is exhibited in the new Harry Winston Room in the Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals of the Natural History Museum of the Smithsonian Institution.

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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