the curse of the hope diamond

the curse of the hope diamond

Editing Debate The Lazy Editor The Curse of the Hope Diamond Does one touch of this famous jewel mean certain doom? By Jennifer Dignan 3 As for th...

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Editing Debate

The Lazy Editor The Curse of the Hope Diamond

Does one touch of this famous jewel mean certain doom? By Jennifer Dignan


As for the magnificent blue diamond, it

passed, through the centuries, from owner to owner. Eventually, it came to be known as the Hope Diamond. And it brings misfortune to all who touched it.


Good story, isn’t it? Evalyn and Ned McLean,

the wealthy young American couple who bought the Hope Diamond in 1911, certainly thought so, and they heard the story from Pierre Cartier, the French jeweler who sold them the diamond for $180,000 (equal to about $4.3 million today), and Cartier, he more or less made the story up.


Nevertheless, The New York Times reported that the McLeans had

purchased a diamond said to bring “ill-luck to its possessors” and then other newspapers repeated the story,

article, which contains many

with each writer adding new and

terrible mistakes. Then follow the

more-fantastic details, and before

prompts in the box on p. 31.

long, it was common knowledge that the Hope Diamond was cursed.


In 1642, a French jeweler named Jean-Baptiste Tavernier was

visiting an ancient temple in India. His


The idea of the curse was not entirely Cartier’s. Stories about

cursed diamond’s, in general, were

gaze fell upon an enormous blue diamond

quite popular at the time. Between

glittering on the forehead of a statue of a

1908 and 1910, several newspaper

Hindu goddess. Tavernier’s eyes darted around

articles linked the Hope Diamond to

the room. It is empty. He pried the gem from the

murder, suicide, madness, financial

statue, slipped it into his pocket, and hastily

ruin—all sorts of tragedie’s. These

makes his exit.

articles were packed with errors and


Soon afterward, Tavernier is torn apart and

flat-out fabrications, but they were

eaten by wild dogs.

certainly entertaining!

30 Scholastic Scope • SEPTEMBER 2013

©Fred Ward/Corbis (Hope Diamond); Shutterstock (Skeleton)

Directions: Read the following

We love this story. Too bad we couldn’t be bothered to edit it! Will you fix it for us? 7

Is there any truth to the legend of the Hope Diamond? Well, Tavernier did get it in India. But


Today, the Hope

he did not steal it; he bought it. And though the cause

Diamond is on

of his death—in 1689, at the age of 84—is unknown,

display at the

there is no evidence that wild dog’s were involved. To be


sure, though, bad things happened to some of the

National Museum of Natural History in Washington,

diamond’s owners. King Louis XVI of France and his

D.C. When the museum acquired the diamond in 1958,

wife, Marie Antoinette, who owned the jewel during the

it received many letters of protest. One group of

French Revolution, were beheaded. Bad luck indeed!

concerned citizens told the museum it was tempting

And the English nobleman Lord Francis Hope, who

fate to have anything to do with the “ghastly gem.” They

owned the diamond through the late 1800s, lost his

probably weren’t surprised to learn that postal carrier

fortune and was divorced by his wife.

James Todd suffered a series of unfortunate events after


As for the McLeans. Their young son was killed in

he delivered the diamond to the museum: His leg was

a car accident. Then they ran out of money. Then

crushed by a truck, his wife died of a heart attack, his

their marriage fell apart. Then Ned was sent to a mental

dog strangled itself on its leash, and his house burned

institution. Where he died at the age of 50. Many people

down! Nevertheless, the walnut-size blue diamond has

blamed these events on the Hope Diamond, but not

been the museum’s star attraction. Since it arrived. It

Evalyn. She always took the story of the curse as just

draws more than 6 million tourists each year. That

that: a story.

doesn’t seem like much of a curse at all, now does it?

Find It/Fix It

Directions: Can you find the following errors in the article and fix them? Write the answers on your own paper.

ParagraphS 1, 2 & 3: Verb tenses that shift without reason can confuse the reader. Please fix four verb-tense errors (and watch out for wild dogs). PARAGRAPHS 4 & 5: Know who’s suffering from ill-luck? Anyone who reads these rambling sentences. Break these paragraphs into shorter sentences, won’t you? PARAGRAPHS 6 & 7: Bad luck shall befall all those who use apostrophes unnecessarily! Remember, an apostrophe should appear before an s at the end of a word only to show possession or to form a contraction. Find and fix three apostrophe-s mistakes. PARAGRAPHS 8 & 9: Reading a fragment, or incomplete Get sentence, is like walking into a brick wall: The action stops for more practice, MORE Go to SCOPE online. Online! abruptly. Please fix three fragments by adding words or combining them with nearby sentences. • SEPTEMBER 2013