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Hope Diamond: The Legendary History of a Cursed Gem
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Hope Diamond: The Legendary History of a Cursed Gem

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  102 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Since its discovery in seventeenth–century India, the Hope diamond, a glimmering deep blue gem weighing over 45 carats, has been shrouded in mystery and steeped in intrigue. In this groundbreaking work, Dr. Richard Kurin goes beyond the speculation to reveal the truth behind a legendary stone.

Kurin, a cultural anthropologist, spent more than a decade on the trail of the le
Paperback, 400 pages
Published September 4th 2007 by Harper Perennial (first published May 1st 2006)
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I was starting to feel a little cursed myself while reading this book, since every time I tried to pick it up life would interfere. But alas, I and the book have prevailed and the reading is complete.
Kurin not only captures every bit of history surrounding the Hope diamond, but the mining, trading, and cutting associated with diamonds in general. I found myself, more than once, trapping anyone around me and making them listen as I read a passage or two. I had to laugh when Kurin talks about the
This book wound up being utterly fascinating. Kurin tracks the diamond back through its recorded history, from the mid-seventeenth century to the present day. Along the way, he provides details on diamond mining, composition and cutting as well as Indian and European politics and history. The 'curse' of the Hope diamond turns out to be so much nonsense, but the reality makes for a much better tale.
Very interesting look at the history of one of the most famous diamonds in the world. I would've liked more photos, particular in color, and of the other gemstones mentioned throughout the text, but thankfully we have Google and Wikipedia for that now. Fascinating for anyone interested in the story behind the stone.
Mikki Cabrera
Aug 05, 2009 Mikki Cabrera rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Mikki by: Machele Taliaferro
Fascinating book about the Hope Diamond. The cool things is that by following the Hope Daimond, you have an opportunity to follow history-all wrapped around something as intriguing as the lore and legend surround this famous gem, which now resides in the Smithsonian Gem Museum. Great read!
Sometimes, there is a good reason you find a book in the bargain bin...

In this case, there is only so much to be said can say about one gemstone, no matter how storied and beautiful. Richard Kurnin says it -- and more -- in this tome about the Hope Diamond. While there are plenty of interesting facts and vignettes in this book, it is just too long, and at times it drags insufferably. It would have been far better condensed into an article, or a couple of chapters in a book about the provenance o
Evanston Public  Library
I picked this book up in the gift shop of the Smithsonian as something to read on my flight back to Milwaukee. To be fair, the Hope Diamond (and all things shiny for that matter), has always fascinated me, so I recognize this book might not appeal to everyone. However, this book is absolutely amazing. In the short flight (I think it’s 2 hours) I managed to finish this book and take a nap, though I am including airport waiting time as well. It just grabs you. Dr. Richard Kurin is the Under Secret ...more
Cursed or not cursed, that is the question. On one hand, cursed means more tourists coming to see, which means more money.

But cursed doesn't seem likely.

The Hope Diamond is one of the draws to Smithison Natural History museum. It forms part of a gem collection and is always surronded by people, most of whom just look at it because everyone else is. Or they think it is the biggest diamond in the world. (I like the mammal better myself, though there is something about the Hope).

Kurin's book is as
Lisa James
A book sponsored by & published by the Smithsonian itself, this is a truly fascinating look at the actual history of one of the most famous diamonds in the world. The author spent over 10 years in the researching of the diamond, & the places he went to learn these things I could only ever dream of being able to go... The Hope is supposed to be "cursed" by ill fortune to whoever wears it or comes in contact with it, but most of that has been disproved, since the authors even went to the t ...more
David Szatkowski
This is a fun, fun book. Richard Kurin works for the Smithsonian Institution; in this book, he examines how the Smithsonian acquired the Hope Diamond. And along the way, the reader learns about gemology, history, geo-political politics, and how diamond are graded and cut.
For me the book started off brilliantly but petered out towards the end.

It was almost like he lost interest in the diamond in the last quarter of the book.

Good historical notes of the diamond and assumptions of where it went during the lost years.
I purchased this book at the Smithsonian after seeing the Hope with my own eyes. I knew virtually nothing about the stone, including the legend of its curse, so this book seemed a perfect fit for my curiosity. Dr. Kurin does a magnificent job of detailing the history of this stone-from its origins to the technology used to cut and shape the stone. And while all this information is great from a research perspective, it did not make for the most interesting read. There are other books out there th ...more
Not bad--learned a lot about diamonds and gems in general. Some excellent turns of phrase, and incredible guess-work and research about the Hope diamond. Some sections are cheesy and there's an overall tone that suggests the duller parts of touring a museum, but it doesn't get too bogged down. Overall, an interesting read.
The beginning was slow and a bit boring. But the ending was much more interesting. After finishing, I trekked down to the National Museum of Natural History to see the famed Hope Diamond. Ends up, it will be put in a new setting next month. I'll have to go back and see it then.
I had high hopes for this one, but it was slow to take off. Some parts were not very interesting. It details tne ownership and history of the Hope Diamond. I didn't realize it was so old, but some of the early years' info was very dry.
F.A. McMillan
Jul 02, 2007 F.A. McMillan rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history buffs, people who like folklore
This book was one that I randomly picked up in the library because it looked interesting. So far I have not been bored, and I'm learning a lot about Indian history and trade between countries during the 15th and 16th centuries.
Nicely written and author does a nice job of making some dry material interesting. This made me want to see items mentioned in the book and luckily I have been able to do this. Makes a great read about an iconic item!
Joseph Caputo
The writing wasn't perfect and it could have gone without a few chapters, but very well researched work.
Bought this at the Smithsonian after seeing the dimond.
May 11, 2008 Marianne marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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