Henry Philip Hope's Gem Collection
The Hope Pearl AND the Hope Diamond. Quite a major gem collection.
Henry Philip Hope, who died in 1839, was an astute collector and fine gems and art. He had at least two of the finest specimens of important gems in the history of gemological collections.
The Hope Pearl is the most famous pearl because of its size and history. It was probably acquired by Jacques Tavernier perhaps from the Persian Gulf around 1650 and sold to French King Louis XIV in 1669. This beautiful and one of the largest pearl, measures 150 X 83 X 50mm and weighs 454 carats. It is its size and cylindrical drop shape that makes this pearl so unusual. The pearl is set in a pendant. that represents the crown, decorated with rubies, emeralds, and diamonds. It has a long history of traveling through many important hands And, it was shown at "The Allure of Pearls" exhibition at Smithsonian Institution in 2005. It was the first exhibition of the Hope Pearl and the Hope Diamond together. Today it is the hands of a private investor.
The Hope Diamond has a significant history, as well. It was possibly mined in the Golcanda area of India. In 1668, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, a French gem merchant sold a 112 carat blue diamond to King Louis XIV of France. Yes, this was the same King that owned the Hope Pearl. It was recut to show more brilliance to a size of 67 1/8 carats in 1673. When the French Revolution erupted in 1792, during the reign of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette, the royal Crown Jewels were looted and disappeared. Twenty years later, a blue diamond that was undoubtedly the missing blue diamond was in the possession of London jeweler, Daniel Eliason. There is no more report of the diamond until in 1820, King George IV bought a blue diamond of 44 carats from Daniel Eliason. It was after King George's death that Henry Philip Hope purchased the diamond and gave it, its name. It remained in Hope's family until 1901 when it was sold to Adolph Weil and eventually to Pierre Cartier in 1909. Cartier artistically set the gem and sold it to Evalyn Walsh McLean, who delighted the public by wearing it everywhere. Perhaps we can learn something from her. After her death in 1947, her collection was bought by Harry Winston, a prominent New York jeweler. In 1958, Mr. Winston graciously donated the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institute to inaugurate its National Gem Collection.
Henry Philip Hope was a man with a fine eye for important gems and art. He had many more pearls in his collection and some of the finest pink conch pearls. Little was known of their value in his time. He just loved the look. What a nice thought.