In 1902 Jaques Colot sold the Hope Diamond to Ivan Kanitowsky, a Russian prince. In 1908 Kanitowsky then gave it (loaned it) to the celebrated actress Mademoiselle Lorens Ladue of the Folies Bergère in Paris. The first time she wore the stone on stage she was shot by a man in the audience some people claim was an ex-lover. Some versions of the story claim that it was Kanitowsky himself that pulled the trigger. Some weeks later the prince himself was stabbed to death as he walked along a Parisian street. The work some believe of Russian revolutionary agitators.
During late 1908, a well-known Greek jewel broker by the name of Simon Maoncharides acquired the stone. History, as always, is uncertain but it appears that he sold it to Habib Bey – a Persian diamond merchant. On the night that the deal was concluded, Maoncharides accidentally drove his carriage over a precipice, killing himself, his wife and child.
Habib Bey quickly sold the stone to Salomon Habib who was acting on behalf of Abdul Hamid II, the Sultan of Turkey. Within months Habib Bey drowned during the sinking of a French steamer in 1909.
Abdul (The Damned) paid $400,000 and gave it Salma Zubayaba (Zubaidah) his favourite concubine with orders that it be protected by Kulub Bey, his favourite eunuch and guardian of the Sultan’s treasures. Mere months afterwards, while Kulub Bey was distracted Jehver Agha, a low official in the treasury, stabbed and killed Zubayda and tried to steal the jewel. He was caught by Kulub Bey and hanged after being tortured. Abu Sabir, the man who had polished the stone for Sultan was unfairly accused of working with Jehver Agha and was tortured and executed. Shortly after this incident Abdul Hamid II was overthrown during the Young Turks Rebellion of 27 April 1909. He was later captured and imprisoned at Beylerbeyi Palace in the Bosphorus. Legend has it that Kulub Bey was captured by a mob after the uprising and slowly strangled to death.
The Hope Diamond vanishes from history for a while until it appears in the hands of Pierre Cartier of the famous Cartier Jewelers family. On 28 January 1911 he sold it to Edward B. McLean on behalf of his wife Evalyn who became owner of the diamond and mocked the curse joking that things that brought other people bad luck brought her good luck. Perhaps Edward wasn’t convinced though as the original contract with Cartier did include a clause stating: Should any fatality occur to the family of Edward B. McLean within six months, the said Hope Diamond is agreed to be exchanged for jewelry of equal value”.
Well, Evalyn may have joked about the Hope Diamond but it didn’t care. Shortly after she acquired it her mother-in-law died. Her eldest son, Vinson, often referred to as the Billion Dollar Baby, ran in front of a car and was killed. He was only nine. Edward McLean went off with another woman and even claimed to have married her although he hadn’t. Evalyn continued to spend money recklessly as did Edward who eventually wound up in a mental asylum where he died from brain atrophy brought on by alcoholism. Aged only 25, Evalyn’s only daughter died from a drug overdose. Debts eventually forced her to sell the Washington Post. Aged just 60, she died of pneumonia soon after her daughter and was buried in Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington D.C. Evalyn’s grandson Lt. Ronald Walsh McLean was killed during the Vietnam War while leading a five man recon in Quảng Trị Province.