The tale of death and destruction seems to follow everywhere, even when it comes to certain famous jewels. Countless bloody battles, royals suffering agonizing ends, tragically ruined fortunes, dashed careers and collapsed marriages, all because of some sparkling stones.
The 105.6-carat Koh-i-Noor diamond is believed to have been extracted from the Kollur mine in Golconda, India. The diamond originally belonged to the Rajah of Malwa but was stolen by Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur at the time of the Mughal rule in India. Throughout history, it passed through many hands but as the folklore states, its ownership brought with it a misfortune. As per the Hindu description of the Koh-i-Noor - "he who owns this diamond will own the world, but will also know all its misfortunes. Only God or woman can wear it with impunity." The diamond is currently set as one of the jewels within a British monarchy crown that Queen Elizabeth II wears on special occasions. Had it been a King wearing it, things would have been pretty bad for England.
2. Hope Diamond
Around 45.52 carats in weight, the beautiful greyish-blue Hope Diamond has a history that dates back to the 17th century. The diamond was discovered from the mines of Golconda, India and was originally 112.19-carat heavy. Originally a part of the French Royal Treasury, it was stolen from there in 1793. The diamond was then owned by Henry Philip Hope from whom it got its name. However, In 1909, Pierre Cartier bought the Hope Diamond as the Hope family became bankrupt after owning the diamond. Cartier sold it to Evalyn Walsh McLean, an American mining heiress, and socialite. Ever since then, even she faced many misfortunes. Her son died in a car accident, her daughter died of drug overdose, her husband died in a sanitarium and her family was forced to sell their newspaper, the Washington Post, in a bankruptcy auction. After McLean's death in 1947, the diamond was donated to the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
3. The Black Prince's Ruby
Don't get confused by the name! The Black Prince's Ruby isn't actually a ruby but a large spinel, a hard, glassy mineral that crystallizes into various shades. Because spinels are significantly less worthy than rubies, the Black Prince's ruby is also known as "the great impostor." The ruby is believed to be mined from Tajikistan and was owned by Edward of Woodstock, who was also called 'the Black Prince' and the ruby got its name from there. However, soon after attaining the gem, Edward was diagnosed with a mysterious disease that caused his death 9 years later. After that, Henry V of England came into possession of the ruby and as the legend claims, he was wearing it during the Battle of Agincourt in which he nearly died. After that, when Richard III owned the ruby and wore it to the Battle of Bosworth. He met a cruel death.
4. Delhi Purple Sapphire
Another trickster name! The famous Delhi Purple Sapphire is not actually a sapphire but amethyst and the 'curse' surrounding it seems to have been the invention of Persian scholar Edward Heron-Allen. The gem was donated to London's Natural History Museum by Heron-Allen's daughter along with a warning letter attached to it. The letter claimed that the gem was stolen from the treasure of the Temple of the God Indra at Cawnpore during the Indian mutiny in 1855 and was brought to this country by Colonel W. Ferris of the Bengal Cavalry. The Gem had three owners - Colonel W. Ferris, his son, and Heron-Allen and all of them experienced unfortunate events in the family, like, trails of suicides, apparitions, disasters, and failed careers. The gem is now on display at the museum's Vault Collections, where it doesn't seem to cause any particular harm to visitors.
5. Sancy Diamond
The pear-shaped Sancy diamond is said to be to have a vicious curse upon it that brings nothing but violent death to anyone who owns the gem. The diamond has been mined in Golconda, India and reached Europe in the 14th century and served the crowns of many French and English kings, like Charles the Bold of Burgandy, Charles I of England and Louis XVI of France. All of them suffered gruesome deaths soon after coming in contact with the gem. However, the curse didn't just affect them but also left its impact on their underlings. According to legend, Henry IV, the successor of Charles I was robbed and murdered and the stone was recovered from his stomach during the autopsy. The gem is now on display at the Louvre.
6. La Peregrina Pearl
Previously owned by American-British actor Elizabeth Taylor, La Peregrina Pearl is a 50.6-carat pearl that is one of the largest found pearls in the world. The pearl was discovered in the Gulf of Panama and was initially gifted to Queen Mary I of England by King Philip II of Spain before their marriage but he later abandoned her. After her death, the pearl was returned to King Philip who then gave it as a proposal gift to Queen Mary's younger half-sister, Elizabeth I. The pearl was worn by Spanish royalty until the 19th century when Napoleon Bonaparte invaded and the French seized the Spanish crown — and the pearl. It was then passed down to members of the Bonaparte family, each time bringing distance for the couple who owned it. Ultimately it was bought by Richard Burton as a Valentine's gift for his wife, Elizabeth Taylor. After that, the couple got divorced with their marriage lasting only nine months. However, Elizabeth Taylor held on to the pearl and thus went through eight failed marriages.
7. The Black Orlov
The Black Orlov diamond is said to have served as the eye of an idol of Lord Brahma at a shrine near Pondicherry, India and was stolen by a monk who died by falling from a building. Later it was gifted to a Russian princess called Nadia Orlov who allegedly jumped off her palace building shortly after coming in contact with the gem. Then, a diamond dealer named J.W. Paris bought the jewel and brought it to the U.S. However, after a few days he died by falling from one of New York’s tallest buildings. It didn't end there. Later, when New York dealer Charles F. Winson came in possession of it, he placed it in a spectacular necklace with 124 other diamonds and sold it to a number of high-end clients. What happened to them is still unknown.
8. The Regent Diamond
Another one on our list of cursed gemstones is the gorgeous Regent diamond that was mined in India in the early 1700s. The gem was stolen from the mine by a slave for an English sea captain who killed the slave after getting the diamond. Folklores claim that before dying, the slave laid a curse on the gem. Later, English governor Thomas Pitt bought the diamond from the sea captain and sold it to the French Regent Philippe II of Orleans, which is when it received its name. However, the purchase proved to be bad for the Regent as shortly after he came in contact with the gem, sudden deaths happened in his family. The gem was later stolen during the French Revolution by Napoleon and brought him ill-fate. It is said that the Regent diamond was set in the handle of his sword from which he fought the Battle of Waterloo.
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