The Sale to Walsh-McLean
In 1910, Pierre Cartier wanted to entice rich American Evalyn Walsh McLean into buying the Hope Diamond. He told her that the stone had been taken from a Hindu idol. He recounted how the Hope’s ancestor Lord Francis had squandered his fortune and that May, his actress wife, had left him for another man. May even made a movie about how they suffered and he sold it to pay off his debts.
In order to push through the deal, this modern folktale about the curse of the stone was made up as a marketing ploy. He also promised Evalyn that if the stone brought her trouble or became a problem anytime in the next 6 months, he would give her the money back: $180,000.00 (over 4 million today). Evalyn and her husband, Ned, bought the diamond.
Evalyn was the daughter of a gold miner. Her home in Washington was a rich property and later became an embassy. Mike, her Great Dane, wore the necklace frequently at parties. Later, she did in fact experience much tragedy. Her 10-year old child, Vinson, was playing near the street and was hit by a car and died. Her marriage fell apart. Her husband left her and wound up in an insane asylum. In addition, the family newspaper, TheWashington Post went bankrupt. The final blow, her daughter committed suicide at 25 years-old by overdosing on drugs.
After Evalyn died, her estate sold the diamond to Harry Winston.