"Impressive gem" National Museum of Natural History Tip by rexvaughan

  The Hope Diamond
by rexvaughan
 
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We went here primarily to see the Hope Diamond and it is worth the stop. However there are some 125 million specimens in the museum focusing on the earth and its evolution. There are tons of displays of animals, fossils, minerals, cultural artifacts and plants. Time kept us from doing much more than walking through a couple of exhibit halls, but there is something about stuffed animals that does not appeal to me. So, on to the Hope Diamond for us.

The diamond has a somewhat checkered history. It is said to have been purchased in crudely cut form by a French traveling merchant and sold to Louis XIV who had it cut and set in gold so he could wear it on ceremonial occasions. Not surprisingly it disappeared during the French Revolution. It passed through several owners including the Hope family who owned it for about 60 years. It ended up with the New York diamond dealer, Harry Winston Company who eventually donated it to the Smithsonian in 1958. In the pendant where it is now set, there are 61 smaller diamonds - all in all a pretty impressive bauble.

Address: 10th Street and Constitution Ave., NW
Directions: Metro Stop: Federal Triangle
Phone: 202-357-2700
Website: http://www.mnh.si.edu/

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Feb 28, 2006
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rexvaughan

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