Though it has been cut over three times -- and pared down from a massive 112 carats to its present weight of 45.52 carats -- it continues to hold the distinction of being the largest blue diamond in the world.
The extremely beautiful diamond -- it has an unusually clear deep blue colour -- has an interesting past. It has its origins in India and is believed to have been found in the Kollur Mines in Golconda. It was said to have been cursed after being stolen from the forehead of the Goddess Sita, where it was embedded.
Since then, it is said to have brought misfortune to its owners, who have included the royalty of France beginning with King Louis XIV and ending, generations later, with King Louis XVI, who was beheaded in the French Revolution.
Many of the royal jewels, including the blue diamond, were stolen. It resurfaced in London in 1812, when it was bought by Henry Philip Hope, who gave the diamond the name by which we know it today.
The final owner of the Hope diamond was jeweller Harry Winston. He donated it to the Smithsonian Institution -- this was the second diamond to delivered through mail in plain packaging; Winston used a plain brown paper bag -- to help build a national gem collection dedicated to the American people.
Information courtesy: Internetstones.com