Hope Diamond: The Legendary History of a Cursed Gem

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Written by Smithsonian folklorist, Richard Kurin, this definitive history of the Hope Diamond traces the history of this gem from India to France to London and the United States. Also known as the French Blue, it is one of the Smithsonian's most popular icons. The 112-carat deep blue diamond arrived at the Smithsonian in 1958 via the U.S. postal service, after having been donated by the gem dealer Harry Winston. Kurin debunks the notion that diamond trader Jean-Baptiste Tavernier took the gem from the eye of a Hindu idol, and traces its travels and owners. He also addresses the persistent myth of the "curse" of the Hope diamond and places it with cultural history and the history of the gem trade.


  • Winston, Harry 1896-1978
  • Hall of Gems
  • National Museum of Natural History (U.S.)
  • United States Postal Service


Smithsonian History Bibliography

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu




  • Gems
  • Diamonds
  • Museums
  • Hope diamond
  • Museum exhibits

Physical description

Number of pages : 388; Page numbers : 1-376

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