31 Oct CURSED GEMS
Well there has to be something to mark the season of Hallowe’en. And while sharing horror stories linked to famous Gems, it is convenient for us all that these stories are linked to exceptionally large and Pricey Gemstones. Most of us are unlikely to ever own, let alone hold one of these, but we are lucky enough to get to see some of them in Museums around the world.
So why are these gemstones so cursed ?
They’re not, I’m sorry , they’re just not. They do however feature in some intriguing stories and bloody history!
Why do they keep cropping up in all these gruesome tales then?
A 400 carat diamond is quite noticeable and generally qualifies as ‘worth mentioning’ in most stories.
Anyway these are my favourites…
The famous diamond which now resides in the queen of Englands crown jewels is originally thought to have been extracted from The Kollur mine in Golconda, India. Its name in Persian means mountain of light.
The first known written mention of it was of it being stolen from the Rajah of Malwa and that it was originally 739 carats in its uncut form, (sounds questionable, did they have insurance scams in the year 1306?)
It was stolen traded and claimed in the spoils of war, raids and skirmishes for several centuries amongst Sikh, Afghan, Persian, Mongolians and Hindu tribes and according to Hindu folklore ”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”. So when the British acquired it in 1850, it was given to Queen Victoria and has only been worn by women since…just in case.
Black princess Ruby
This deserves a place on the list for its nick-name alone….The Great Impostor! So called as it actually a large red Spinel and not a ruby at all. It was first recorded during the 14th century, when it was plundered from the Moorish Kingdom of Granada by Don Pedro the Cruel, who was the ruler of Seville, Spain.
Its name hails from Edward of Woodstock who owned it during the 14th century as he earned the Monicor ‘The Black Prince’ due to his successes in the 100 years war, it was then owned by a succession of British monarchs including King Henry V who had it set in his battle helmet alongside real rubies!!? Yes, I said battle helmet.
Like many of these famous gems it is now a part of Engalnd’s crown jewels and is set at the centre of the Imperial state crown of England.
The Delhi Purple Sapphire
Another impostor but this one is actually an Amethyst. Rumoured to have been stolen by a British soldier from the Temple of Indra the Hindu gold of War during the Indian Mutiny of 1857. It was brought to England by Colonel W. Ferris whose family went on to suffer both in health and finance. The next owner we know of was the accomplished author and scientist Edward Heron-Allen in 1890 who claimed his bad luck began immediately after receiving the gem, friends he gave it away to were also struck with misfortune and quickly returned the accursed gem. He proceeded to lock the gem away in seven boxes and surrounded it by charms. His daughter donated the stone to London’s Natural History museum upon his death along with a letter from Edward warning future owners not to handle the Gem directly lest they cursed with misfortune.
It still resides in the museum.
The Blue Diamond
The recent history of this stone is murky at best. It began in 1989 when a Thai janitor employed at the Saudi royal palace stole a large amount of jewellery from Prince Faisal bin Fahds bedroom. The haul was said to include a blue diamond.
After smuggling the jewels into Thailand, thai police, having been tipped off by their saudi counterparts, arrested him, but not before he had managed to sell off many of the jewels. Thai officials returned what was left of the loot but the royal family claimed that about half the returned gems were fakes and the blue diamond was missing.
There follows many deaths of Saudi businessmen who travelled to bangkok allegedly investigating the so called blue diamond affair but Thai police insist there is no link in the events. Interestingly they question the validity of the blue diamond ever having existed in the first place.
A later twist in the story in 1995 when Chalor Kerdthes, the policeman in charge of the original investigation, is sentenced to death for ordering the murder of the wife and son of the Thai jeweller alleged to have made the imitation jewels.
Needless to say relations between the two countries have soured since.