The Jewelry Insider

August 19, 2009

The Smithsonian is stripping The Hope Diamond of its current setting and plans to give it a spiffy new home – with your help.

The Hope Diamond, one of the world’s most famous gems, is getting naked to celebrate 50 years at the Smithsonian. To honor the rare 45.52-carat blue diamond, the museum is designing three possible new settings for the stone, inviting the public to vote for their favorite by visiting:

The winning setting will be announced this fall, and the gem will be shown in its new digs starting in May to celebrate the premiere of a Smithsonian Channel documentary on the diamond.

In the meantime, The Hope will be hanging out in the buff – a first for the storied gem.

“This is a rare and exciting opportunity for people to see the Hope Diamond as it has never been seen before,” said museum director Cristian Samper.

Formed more that a billion years ago, the diamond was mined in India and is believed to have been part of the French crown jewels. It later came into the possession of Henry Philip Hope, whose name it carries.

The Hope Diamond was long thought to have a curse, bringing bad luck to its owners, but Smithsonian officials say it has been kind to them, drawing throngs of visitors.

Here’s to another curse-free half-century!

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