Misfortunes Behind The 5 Famous Jewelry Pieces
Precious stones and expensive jewelry have always inspired people with awe. They are capable of provoking a wide range of feelings: from admiration and envy to disgust and fear. Some famous jewels were destined to remain in the past as "damned." These jewels changed owners, lived a restless life and survived wars, betrayals, and fatal coincidences.
1. La Peregrina Pearl
This beautiful, large pearl was the favorite jewel of Elizabeth Taylor. The luxurious jewel weighs 50.6 carats! The name of the pearl is a Spanish word, which means "The Pilgrim" or "The Wanderer." The pearl was discovered by a black slave in the Gulf of Panama. The slave was set free thanks to his great find. In 1554, the Spanish King Philip II gave the jewel as a gift to his future wife Maria Tudor.
Four years later, the monarch left his wife, and Maria died without leaving an heir. Maria's death didn't upset many people. In people's memory, she remained known as "Bloody Mary." After the Queen's death, the pearl returned to Philip II. Without a second thought, the King offered his hand to Maria's half-sister, Elizabeth I, who became the next owner of the La Peregrina Pearl.
Until the 19th century, the jewel belonged to Spanish monarchs. However, after the invasion of Napoleon, the pearl passed into the possession of the French royal family.
In 1873, the jewel was sold to James Hamilton, and in 1969 the pearl belonged to Richard Burton, who gifted it to his wife Elizabeth Taylor. The expensive gift did not bring happiness to the couple. They married and divorced twice. Moreover, the actress married 8 times in her life. After Elizabeth Taylor's death in 2011, the pearl was sold for $11.8 million to an unknown buyer at Christie's auction.
2. The Black Prince's Ruby
The ruby is also known for its infamous name "The Great Impostor." The gem rests in the center of the British Empire crown. In fact, it is not a precious stone at all. It isn't actually a ruby, but rather a large spinel, which is a much less expensive stone highly valued for its rich color palette. A bright red colored spinel is often confused with a ruby. A pink spinel is known as a balas ruby, and the purple one is referred to as an eastern amethyst. It is noteworthy that it is impossible to distinguish a ruby from a spinel with the naked eye.
The Black Prince's Ruby was most likely mined in the Tajik province of Badakhshan (now in the territory of Afghanistan) in the 14th century. Peter I, the king of Castile and León, known as Peter the Cruel, became the owner of the gem. The stone then fell into the hands of the Black Prince Edward Woodstock, who became famous for his military exploits in the Hundred Years' War.
Henry V lured the spinel from Woodstock and made it the ornament of his combat helmet. So the "impostor" got to stand in a row with real rubies. In this victorious vestige, Henry fought in the famous battle of Agincourt. So the jewel gradually became the property of the Tudor dynasty. The stone consistently belonged to Henry VIII and his daughter Elizabeth. In 1649, King Charles I was beheaded for treason, and the ruby was eventually sold.
In the XVII century, the Lord Steward of Scotland bought the ruby back from an unknown merchant. But he almost lost the Black Prince when the Irishman Thomas Blade nearly stole all the royal regalia from the Tower in 1671.
3. Star of India
The Star of India is also known as the Star of Sri Lanka. This round-shaped unusual matte sapphire-cabochon has stars on both sides of the stone. The gem was mined on the south-eastern coast of India 300 years ago. The gem is still considered to be one of the largest such gems in the world.
In 1900, John Pierpont Morgan, a businessman, presented the stone to the American Museum of Natural History. In 1964, a band of robbers made their way into the building through the window in the toilet and stole the gem. The police caught the robbers the next day after their bold theft. The jewel, however, was discovered only a few months later in one of the lockers in the storage room at a bus station in Miami. The stone is now back in the museum and is carefully guarded.
4. The Purple Sapphire Heron-Allen
There is a long chain of legends behind this gem too. According to one of them, a British soldier stole this pseudo sapphire, which was, in fact, an amethyst, from an Indian temple dedicated to Shiva. Colonel Faris, whose family was soon devastated by illness and financial collapse, brought the gem to England. The amethyst was later presented to the writer and scholar Edward Heron-Allen. It may be a coincidence, but the stone brought a black stripe into the life of the prosperous writer. Not willing to test fate, Heron-Allen gave the amethyst to his friends, but the stone brought misfortune on them too, and they returned it. For the rest of his life, Edward kept the "Delphian sapphire" locked in seven boxes surrounded with amulets "for luck."
When the Purple Sapphire passed to the writer's daughter, she decided it would be best to transfer the stone to the London Museum of Natural History. She attached a letter to the gift and advised the workers at the museum not to allow anybody to own the stone personally; otherwise, the owner of the amethyst would be jinxed.
5. Signet rings of the Borgia family
The Spanish Borgia family is known not only for the fact that they gave the world two popes and about 20 cardinals, but also for their intrigues related to jewels! The two rings, "The Flame of the Borgias" and "The Claw of the Lion," did not bring any harm to their owner. But as historians state, they gave the Borgia family the power and strength to destroy all those who stood in their way. Evil was not attributed to the rings themselves. It is believed that the people who wore the rings on their fingers gave particles of their dark souls to the jewels.
Both rings hide terrible secrets. "The Claw of a Lion" has small sharp claws smeared with poison and killed someone after a handshake. Under the stone of "The Flame of Borgias" ring, there's a place for a poison that could be easily added into a victim's glass.
Many people believe that omens and curses are just superstitions. Perhaps, they are. But we instinctively want to keep away from anything that may bring us misfortune. Let these jewels rest in museums under guard and serve as a warning for future generations.
READ ALSO: 5 Most Famous Diamonds In The World
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