Diamonds are like people in that some become famous and some don’t. Usually, it’s circumstance. Sometimes it has to do with happenstance. A little orphan diamond can easily be placed in a Queen’s crown of jewels and become the most famous diamond in the world or it could spend its life away from the limelight on someone’s rather non-notorious ring finger.
Most of the time, though, a diamond becomes famous because of the story surrounding it – these are the infamous diamonds; the diamonds people conquer countries for. Here are the 3 most famous diamonds in the world.
1. The Sancy
Some people cover their male pattern baldness with a comb over or a cap. If you were a king, however, you’d have the option of employing a crown encrusted with diamonds and jewels. The Sancy is a curiously famous 55-carat shield-shaped, pale yellow diamond that started off in the hands of Charles the Bold, the Duke of Burgundy who lost it during a war in 1477. After that, it wound up in Seigneur de Sancy’s hands – a French Ambassador to Turkey. Sancy loaned the diamond to French King, Henry the III who used it to cover up his baldness. The diamond was also loaned to Henry IV of France. Finally, it was sold to James I of England who then bequeathed it to James II – one of the last Stuart kings of England – who fled with the diamond to Paris where it disappeared one last time. The diamond was never seen again after that – for all anyone knows, it could be hiding in a centuries old croissant under a Parisian bakery.
2. The Blue Hope
This ironically named diamond is perhaps one of the most famous in the world. It is famous because you could say that it is the Mona Lisa of Diamonds – at 45.52 carats with its deep blue color, it is certainly one of the most beautiful diamonds. It is ironically named, because the Blue Hope is supposedly cursed. After being whittled down from its original size of 112 carats, the diamond went through multiple kingly hands until it reached Henry Thomas Hope – an illustrious English banker. After the diamond was purchased, Hope’s son lost his entire fortune. After that, it was sold to Mrs. Edward McLean – a wealthy American widow. After purchasing the diamond, she went broke, her only son died and she committed suicide. You can now see the diamond at the Smithsonian Institute, but with all that bad juju – maybe you should just look at pictures online.
3. The Orloff
This shocking 300-carat diamond has been lusted after more than a cool glass of water in an arid desert. The story goes that the Orloff started off as one of the eyeballs in a Hindu statue of Vishnu in Sriangam, India. In the 1700s, a French army deserter stole the eyeball – he apparently only took one eyeball (one diamond) because he was afraid of the karmic retribution (he was eventually beheaded at the guillotine). Afterwards, he sold the diamond to an English sea captain for 2,000 pounds, which may sound like very little money, but is actually about $200,000 in today’s dolla dolla bills y’all. After a good amount of time passed, the diamond wound up in the hands of Grigori Orloff who purchased it from a dealer in Amsterdam for 90,000 pounds, which is close to $2 million in today’s dolla dolla bills. Apparently, he purchased the diamond to win back his ex-lover Catherine the Great – empress of Russia.
Unfortunately, the diamond didn’t win her back, but she did hold on to the diamond and had it placed in her Imperial Scepter, which is basically a glorified, not-so-magic wand. It’s the equivalent of putting an unwanted gifted in your junk drawer and calling it a day. Cut to a couple decades later – the Russian Count is dead (apparently from heartache) and Napoleon is racing on horseback with his army to claim the diamond as his. However, the diamond is hidden in a Priest’s tomb and just as Napoleon goes to clutch the diamond, the priest’s ghost appears and scares the bejesus out of the French emperor and his army, so they scurry off empty handed. Where is the diamond now? – In a diamond safe in Moscow, protected by the Kremlin, which means that no one is touching it anytime soon – but you can imagine Vladimir Putin petting it with his face from time to time; just to see what it feels like.
In the end, there are many other diamonds that are famous – famous for their stories, famous for who wore them and famous simply because of their brilliance, cut, shine and outlandish size. However, these three famous diamonds are unique because of the varied history that belongs to each of them, like biblical odysseys of curses, tales of greed, anecdotes of adventure, and narratives of love and romance. At the end of the day, when you purchase a diamond, there is a strong likelihood that it will remain in your family for generations and – who knows – may just become as infamous.