The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the donation of one of its most famous gem – the Hope Diamond – by resetting it.
Donated by Harry Winston, the 45.52-carat blue diamond (which is currently set in platinum surrounded by sixteen white pear-shaped and cushion-cut diamonds) will be reset early next year in one of three contemporary settings (Renewed Hope, A Journey of Hope and Embracing Hope) designed by Harry Winston Inc and chosen by the general public at www.smithsonianchannel.com/hope.
The winning setting will be announced later this year however the diamond will not be exhibited in the setting until May 2010 when the Smithsonian Channel’s Mystery of the Hope Diamond documentary is released.
Until then, the Hope Diamond will be exhibited with no setting at all at the Museum.
“This is a rare and exciting opportunity for people to see the Hope Diamond as it has never been seen before,” said Cristián Samper, director of the National Museum of Natural History.
“It is one of the most popular artifacts at the entire Institution – it is very fitting that we honour its Smithsonian legacy with such a unique celebration.”
The Hope Diamond is renowned for its nearly flawless clarity, rare deep blue color, and eventful history.
The diamond was discovered in the 17th century in a mine in Golconda, India.
In 1668, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, a French gem merchant, sold the diamond to King Louis XIV of France. During the French Revolution it was stolen, and subsequently had many owners, including King George IV of England and Henry Philip Hope, whose name it bears today.
In 1958 its last private owner, Harry Winston, donated the diamond to the Smithsonian.
The Hope Diamond will return to its original setting in late 2010.