Hope diamond finds a new temporary home in US

Hope Diamond from India`s Kollur mine in Golconda was put on display at the Smithsonian`s National Museum of Natural History.

Last Updated: Nov 20, 2010, 20:59 PM IST

Washington: The world`s most famous diamond, the Hope Diamond from India`s Kollur mine in Golconda, began another chapter in its illustrious history as it was put on display at the Smithsonian`s National Museum of Natural History here.

It is the first time that the diamond is being displayed in a setting other than its historic Cartier-designed setting. The new temporary setting, "Embracing Hope," was designed by Harry Winston Inc. and unveiled and placed on public display Thursday.

The event marks the 50th anniversary of the Hope Diamond`s donation to the museum in 1958 and the 100th anniversary of the museum.

The new exhibit also coincides with the world premiere of the Smithsonian Channel documentary film, "Mystery of the Hope Diamond," which debuts Sunday.

More than 100,000 people selected the stunning new design in an online vote sponsored by the Smithsonian Channel. Master craftsmen at Harry Winston Inc. then spent eight months creating the setting.

The new platinum setting surrounds the legendary deep-blue diamond with an extraordinary 340 baguette diamonds totalling 60 carats. It will be on display for a limited time, after which the Hope will be returned to its historic setting.

As a part of this celebration, Harry Winston Inc. announced that it will make a $1 million donation to support gem and mineral sciences education at the Smithsonian through its new Harry Winston Hope Foundation.

The documentary, "Mystery of the Hope Diamond", is narrated by Academy Award Winner Kim Bassinger and includes footage of model Hilary Rhoda who wore the necklace for a photo session.

The film follows the famous gemstone from its geological formation to its origins in Kollur mine in Golconda about 350 years ago to its mysterious journey through Europe and its final home at the Smithsonian museum.

IANS