The Hope Diamond Was Once a Symbol for Louis XIV, the Sun King

tags: Hope Diamond




Every day, thousands of visitors to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum crowd around a glass case on the second floor to gaze at the Hope Diamond, one of the world's most famous jewels. It's been the subject of dozens of booksdocumentaries and scientific inquiries, partly due to persisting legends that it's cursed. Despite all this attention, though, it seems that the inch-wide, 45.52-carat diamond still conceals secrets waiting to be uncovered.

One of these secrets was recently discovered by François Farges, a professor of mineralogy at the National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris, and Jeffrey Post, the Smithsonian museum's curator of minerals. Using computer modeling, a recently-rediscovered 17th century lead replica and scientific analysis, they've determined that back when the Hope was known as the "French Blue" and part of the personal collection of King Louis XIV of France, during the late 17th century, it was likely placed on a gold background and specially cut to produce an effect reminiscent of a sun at its center. Only after it was stolen in 1792, during the French Revolution—and before it resurfaced in Britain in 1812—was it recut to the familiar, smaller shape we know today....



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