Legends of Cursed Jewelry

Posted on October 28, 2014 by Mary Hood | 0 Comments

During the month of ghosts and goblins, it’s tradition to entertain superstitions—and what’s better than a scary stories about beautiful yet cursed gems and trinkets?

The following tales of cursed jewelry may make you laugh or send shivers down your spine. Grab the candy corn, light a pillar candle, and read on—if you dare…

klopman diamond

We’ll start off light with the old joke about the Klopman Diamond:

A businessman boards a flight and takes a seat next to a glamorous woman. He notices her stunning, nearly blinding diamond and inquires about it.

“This is the Klopman diamond,” she explains. “Yes, it’s quite lovely, but it comes with an unfortunate curse.”

“A curse?” he asks, his curiosity mounting. “What’s the curse?”

“Mr. Klopman.” 


The following tales of another “cursed” stone, the Hope Diamond, are far darker. The Hope Diamond, a 45.52 carat stone, was originally part of a 116.16 carat stone known as the Tavernier Blue. This gem was served as one of the eyes on a Hindu statue before Jean Baptiste Tavernier stole it. Hindu priests placed a curse on the stone—and anyone who managed to get their hands on it.

 hope diamond

The first supposed victim of this curse was Tavernier himself, who, if the rumors are correct, died of a violent fever shortly after stealing the stone. His body was then ravaged by wolves. While records make dispute this last bit, it certainly makes for a terrifying story.
Heiress Evalyn Walsh McLean, then owner of The Washington Post, appears to have suffered from the mysterious curse as well. After purchasing the diamond, wearing it for sometime, and even letting her dog wear it around the house, she witnessed her family slowly fall apart. Her husband left her for another woman and later died in a mental institution. Two of her children passed (one in an accident and one by drug overdose), and she had to sell The Washington Post because she was saddled with immense debt.
According to legend, even those with minimal involvement with the stone weren’t safe. James Todd, the mailman who delivered the diamond to the Smithsonian (it’s current home) was badly injured in an auto accident shortly thereafter. Later, his house burned down. 
Oddly enough, the following gem was also stolen from a Hindu statue and is credited with driving its possessors to suicide. The Black Orlov Diamond was filched from a statue of the Hindu god, Brahma. Until it was cut into three separate stones, which appears to have broken the curse, it was certainly up to no good:

black orlov diamond

J. W. Paris, who brought the stone to the U.S. in 1932, committed suicide by jumping off a skyscraper shortly after selling the stone.

Russian princesses Nadia Vyegin-Orlov and Leonila Galitsine-Bariatinsky, also owners of the Black Orlov Diamond, both killed themselves by jumping from buildings in Rome (some months apart from one another.)

Last on our list of dazzling terrors, the Delhi Purple Sapphire. Peter Tandy, curator at the Natural History Museum in London, discovered this stone roughly 30 years ago. The stone was packed in boxes packed in yet more boxes and was accompanied by this message:

“Whoever shall then open it, shall first read out this warning, and then do as he pleases with the jewel. My advice to him or her is to cast it into the sea.”

dehli purple sapphire

Most likely, the stone was looted from the Temple of Indra in Cawpore during a mutiny in 1857. It was eventually purchased by Edward Heron-Allen who found that it only brought him rotten luck. He gave it to friends, only to have it promptly returned. Apparently, one of these friends was a singer, who permanently lost her singing voice after possessing the stone.

Heron-Allen chucked the stone in to the Regent’s Canal, but the gem wasn’t through with him yet. A jeweler purchased the stone from the canal dreger and returned it to Heron-Allen. Determined to rid himself of the stone, Heron-Allen put the stone in a bank vault, where it was to remain for the rest of his life and at least three years after his death. His daughter was not even allowed to touch the stone.

What do you think? Curses or coincidences?


Photos: R. E. Barber via Flicker, Brent Moore via Flickr, Christina Saint Marche via Flickr, Gemselect

Posted in cursed jewelry, fun, gem lore, hope diamond, jewelry



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