Hope: Adventures Of A Diamond by Marian Folwer

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Hope: Adventures Of A Diamond by Marian Folwer

8vo. pp. xv, 366. b/w illustrations. bibliography. index. hardcover. dw. (near fine - light surface scratch to lower of dust wrapper). New York: Ballentine Books, 2002.

Signed First Edition.

Signed Presentation copy. Signed by Marian Fowler on title-page and inscribed & signed on ffep.

ISBN 10: 0345444868 / ISBN 13: 9780345444868


The Hope Diamond–the largest and most beautiful blue diamond ever found–has inspired centuries of legends and lies, fabulous superstition, and fierce passion. French kings and ravishing Hollywood stars have worn it next to their hearts; reckless aristocrats have let it slip through their fingers. Flaunted, hidden, stolen, and cursed, the Hope Diamond still tantalizes and inspires all who lay eyes on it. Now in Hope: Adventures of a Diamond, Marian Fowler tells the riveting story of this mythical gem and the extraordinary men and women who have owned and lost it.

It is a tale that begins more than a billion years ago in the mountains of India where the gem was forged of basest materials. Unearthed sometime before the birth of Christ, it was more than twice its present size and wondrously shaped. For long slow centuries, the immense blue stone, revered as a divine gift, probably served as the unwinking eye in a statue of a Hindu god.

With the arrival of Europeans, the Diamond was snatched from the realm of the mystical and thrust into the world of commerce, materialism, and political symbolism. Marian Fowler brilliantly unfolds the complex story of how French merchant/adventurer Jean-Baptiste Tavernier acquired the sacred diamond in India and sold it to the one monarch who could–and would–pay for it, King Louis XIV of France. Cut and polished to half its original size, the diamond remained in the possession of the house of Bourbon, passed down from Louis to Louis, until a cabal of common thieves stole it during the French Revolution.

The pace quickens once the diamond comes into the possession of Philip Hope, the scion of a Dutch-based trading and banking empire who gave it the name it has carried ever since. But the heady days in the London townhouses and country estates of the Hope family were brief, and by the twentieth century, the Hope Diamond had become the object of unseemly marital wrangling and social climbing of American millionaires. It was only when diamond master Harry Winston donated this prize to the Smithsonian Institution that the Hope was finally safe and accessible to all who wanted to admire it.

A sweeping saga peopled with the world’s most beautiful women and most unprincipled men,
Hope: Adventures of a Diamond is at once a page-turning thriller and a glittering social history of the astonishing few who craved–and could afford–such a gem. Dazzling and delicious, this is a book truly worthy of its flawless, priceless subject.