Most famous diamond in the world
Most famous diamond in the world. The Hope Diamond, also known as “Le bleu de France” is a large, 45.52-carat (9.10 g), deep-blue diamond, now housed in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C. It is blue to the naked eye because of trace amounts of boron within its crystal structure, but exhibits red phosphorescence after exposure to ultraviolet light. It has a long recorded history with few gaps in which it changed hands numerous times on its way from India to France, to Britain and to the United States. It has been described as the “most famous diamond in the world” and is said to be the second most-visited artwork in the world, after the Mona Lisa.
In December of 1988, a team from the Gemological Institute of America visited the Smithsonian to grade the great blue stone using present day techniques. They observed that the gem shows evidence of wear, has a remarkably strong phosphorescence, and that its clarity is slightly affected by a whitish graining which is common to blue diamonds. They described the color as a fancy dark grayish-blue. An examination on the same day by another gemologist using a very sensitive colorimeter revealed that there is a very slight violet component to the deep blue color which is imperceptible to the naked eye.
Still, one can only wonder that the original 112 3/16-carat stone bought by a 17th-century French gem merchant and traveler Jean-Baptiste Tavernier was described as “un beau violet” (a beautiful violet). Tavernier died in Moscow, where the old traveler was buried in 1689. He was eighty-four.
On November 18, 2010, the Hope Diamond was unveiled and displayed at the Smithsonian in a temporary newly-designed necklace called “Embracing Hope,” created by the Harry Winston firm.