Cursed Diamonds and Gemstones: All That Glitters Isn’t Gold
Last year, we covered gemstone superstitions — and that blog post has been trending online ever since. This year, just in time for the scariest day of the year, we’re going to dive into the fearsome folklore surrounding some (in)famous and cursed diamonds and gemstones.
Sinister Beauty: The Hope Diamond
No list of spooky stones is complete without the Hope Diamond. Known for its exceptional size, color, and history, the Hope Diamond is a hugely impressive stone.
Oh, and it’s cursed. Allegedly.
When Harry Winston donated the diamond to the Smithsonian Museum, many thought the country was doomed. Some individuals even urged President Eisenhower to reject the gift. How could such a remarkable diamond have such dark energy?
Well, it’s what Marie Antoinette was wearing when she was beheaded. And it was reportedly stolen from a statue of the Hindu goddess Sita. The origins of the curse vary, but people agree on one thing: that it is one cursed diamond. Take these examples of the rumored peril that has come to people who have been in possession of the Hope Diamond:
- After stealing the diamond from Sita’s statue, the thief is said to have been killed by wild dogs.
- Sultan Abdul Hamid of Turkey lost his throne.
- Collector Philip Henry Hope’s family went broke, requiring the stone be sold to recoup losses, and his grandson died completely broke.
- Evalyn Walsh McLean lost two of her children, and her husband was later committed to an asylum.
That’s just a sampling of tales, and while most are flat-out lies and the curse is exaggerated, who wants to take a chance? Best to leave it at the Smithsonian.
Men, Beware: The Koh-i-Noor
If you’re going to wear the 105.6-carat Koh-i-Noor Diamond, you better not be a man.
As the curse goes, “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.” But those threatening words haven’t swayed people from wearing the Koh-i-Noor.
Believed to have been mined in India’s Kollur Mine in the twelfth century, the Koh-i-Noor has a long, bloody history. Here is but a sample of the misfortunes that have befallen the Koh-i-Noor’s owners:
- Mughal emperor Babur lost his son to exile.
- A later ruler, Shah Jahan, famous for building the Taj Mahal, spent the end of his days in prison — imprisoned by his own son, Aurangzeb.
- Nadir Shah was assassinated.
- Each of Nadir Shah’s successors were dethroned.
After centuries of poisonings, assassinations, civil wars, and invasions, the Koh-i-Noor eventually ended up with the British monarchy, where it sits today among the British Crown Jewels. However, this is not without controversy — the Indian government would like its diamond returned.
The Regent Diamond
The 140.64-carat Regent Diamond has a cruel, bloody history. Most known for decorating Napoleon Bonaparte’s sword, the Regent Diamond was stolen from India’s now-defunct Kollur Mine.
A slave hid the diamond in an open wound in his leg, then boarded a ship bound for Europe. The ship’s captain learned of the diamond and its whereabouts, so he murdered the slave. Afterward, the captain sold the diamond to an Indian merchant, and thus the curse began.
When the Crown Jewels of France were stolen in 1792, the Regent Diamond was among them. Napoleon got the stone in 1801, and Marie Antoinette had it later. And we all know what happened to her and Louis XVI.
Today, the Regent Diamond is displayed at the Louvre.
There are more cursed diamonds out there: the Sancy Diamond, the Taylor-Burton Diamond, and many more. But if you thought gemstones were safe, think again.
The Great Imposter: The Black Prince’s Ruby
Why impostor? Well, the Black Prince’s Ruby isn’t a ruby. Weighing in at a whopping 170 carats, it’s an irregularly cut cabochon spinel — and despite its impostor status, the Black Prince’s Ruby holds a position of high regard. Today, it’s set in the center of the Imperial State Crown of England.
Believed to have been mined in Badakhshan (today known as Tajikistan), the Black Prince’s Ruby first appears on record in the fourteenth century. Don Pedro the Cruel, ruler of Seville, Spain, plundered the gem from the Moors.
Then the Black Prince himself, Edward of Woodstock, had the stone, where it acquired its name. King Henry V had the gem next, having it set in his battle helmet beside real rubies, truly making this red spinel an impostor.
When King Charles I committed treason, he lost more than the stone, and the Black Prince’s Ruby passed from the British royal line to an unknown buyer. Charles II regained the stone later, but Colonel Thomas Blood nearly succeeded in stealing it during a 1671 heist.
The Delhi Purple Sapphire
The purported powers of sapphire include enlightenment, peace, and healing, yet devastation and despair have awaited all who’ve dared cross the Delhi Purple Sapphire.
Perhaps, that’s because there’s another impostor among us. But rather than a spinel masquerading as a ruby, this time, it’s an amethyst. No wonder the owners of the Delhi Purple Sapphire didn’t get to enjoy any of sapphire’s magical powers — they never had one to begin with!
Looted from the Temple of Indra during the Indian Mutiny of 1857, the Delhi Purple Sapphire is a gem allegedly cursed through thievery, by the Hindu god of war and weather. When the amethyst was taken from the temple, the ancient deity cast a curse upon the stone.
Afterward, the Delhi Purple Sapphire ended up in England, where it spelled trouble for all who owned it, from financial ruin to health problems galore, bad luck, and more.
Author Edward Heron-Allen sealed the gemstone inside a box and had it locked in a bank vault. Later, he gifted the stone to the Natural History Museum, with one stipulation: the box not be opened until three years after his death.
The Perilous Pearl: La Peregrina
La Peregrina, Spanish for “The Wanderer,” is a 50.56-carat pearl that originated from the Panama coastline in the sixteenth century. The then-administrator of the Panama colony gifted the pearl to Philip II, who subsequently gifted it to Queen Mary I of England.
Is Queen Mary I’s name familiar? If so, you may know her for her reign of terror that earned her the moniker Bloody Mary. She was rarely seen without La Peregrina — especially at executions. No doubt this pear-shaped pearl absorbed vile, violent energy.
The curse of La Peregrina is purported to be that of ruining the love lives of all who wear it:
- King Philip II lived abroad for most of his marriage to Queen Mary I.
- After Mary’s death, Philip proposed to her sister, who refused him.
- Centuries later, Richard Burton purchased the stone for Elizabeth Taylor—who had seven marriages throughout her life. Richard was two of those.
As of 2011, La Peregrina belongs to an anonymous collector, who paid a whopping $11 million for the stone.
The Stolen Sapphire: The Star of India
As the world’s largest gem-quality blue star sapphire, the 563-carat Star of India is quite the coveted gemstone. So coveted, in fact, that on October 29, 1964, three thieves broke into the American Museum of Natural History in New York. They raided the gem hall, making off with millions of dollars’ worth of stolen gemstones — including the Star of India.
As the story goes, the display’s alarm batteries were dead. And the ill fortune went even further:
- There was no security guard.
- The windows were open.
- The stone wasn’t even insured.
The thieves climbed in through the window and made off like the bandits they were.
Luckily, the Star of India was recovered not long after in the most unusual of places: a bus station locker in Miami, Florida. Not all the gemstones stolen with it were nearly as fortunate, however. Today, the Star of India is back at the American Museum of Natural History.
Hopefully, they’ve hired someone to regularly check the alarm system.
What’s the Verdict?
Are these stones truly cursed? We reached out to countless clairvoyants for confirmation, but they refuse to go on the record with a definitive answer.
But these tales do have some things in common: the stones were acquired through less-than-honorable means or have a bloody history. Perhaps, then, the curse is nothing more than a cautionary tale: don’t take what isn’t yours, and treat everyone with the kindness with which you want to be treated.
Certified Curse-Free Stones
We’re not daring enough to own any sinister stones — but we are daring enough to stock one of the industry’s largest diamond and gemstone selections. We offer more than 70 types of gemstones and diamonds in every size, shape, and color imaginable.
Enjoyed learning about the world’s most cursed diamonds and gemstones? Read our previous Halloween-themed posts regarding gemstone and jewelry superstitions.