Today in 1958, the Hope Diamond became property of the Smithsonian Institution.
It had been mailed two days before from New York City, so it was delivered by mail carrier James Todd.
In the year that followed, Todd lost his wife and his dog, saw his house go up in flames and got injured in two car accidents.
And people at the time said, of course, the Curse of the Hope Diamond had struck again!
The legend goes that someone pulled a giant blue stone from the eye of a statue in India and from then on, anyone who owned it was cursed.
Researchers believe it was actually mined in India in the 17th Century, and its first documented owner, Jean Baptiste Tavernier, lived a full and comfortable life after selling the gem to the king of France, Louis XIV.
Louis, of course, was famous for his long life and reign.
The diamond is named after Henry Philip Hope, a banker and gem collector, who did just fine for himself.
And so did Harry Winston, the jeweler who donated the diamond to the Smithsonian.
If you’re asking “why would anyone believe it’s cursed, then?” know that some of the owners did have misfortune.
One of Henry Philip Hope’s descendants had to sell it to pay off debts, for example.
And since it was once a French royal jewel, it was connected to Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette, who went to the guillotine during the French Revolution.
Jewelers sometimes played up the legends to get wealthy socialites interested in buying the Hope Diamond.
Pierre Cartier made his name by convincing the rich and famous Evalyn Walsh McLean to just wear it for a couple days and see if she liked having a giant and mysterious diamond around the house.
He even said that if anybody died, she could choose another piece.
She kept it, and it’s said that she later liked to play “hide the Hope Diamond” with her dinner guests.
Unfortunately it didn’t work out; two of McLean’s children lost their lives in tragedies, her husband left her for another woman and she almost had to pawn the diamond off during the Great Depression.
But she never believed in the curse.
And neither did that mail carrier, James Todd.
After bringing the jewel to the Smithsonian, he said, if the diamond really was cursed, wouldn’t the whole country start suffering?
Tomorrow is Metal Day
In Madrid, Spain, you’ll find an unusual statue: it shows Ángeles Rodríguez Hidalgo, a hard rock fan who was known as the Rocker Grandma, putting up the horns with her right hand.
History of the Hope Diamond (Smithsonian Institution)
This Granny Rocks! (Eye on Spain)