Zounds! We once (daringly) took a look at the world’s most notoriously cursed diamonds. As the creepiest month of the year is upon us yet again, it’s time to broaden our spooky horizons and investigate some more infamously bedeviled jewelry items. Behold, the conclusive list of cursed gems, jinxed gold and other ghostly rocks.
The Delhi Purple Sapphire
Everything about this dastardly stone is shrouded in mystery and conflicting lore…including it’s name. It isn’t really a sapphire, rather it’s a piece of super high grade amethyst masquerading as the violent violet/precious cerulean gem. Legend has it that the allegedly sacred stone was one of the many pieces that were pilfered from the Temple of Indra in Cawnpore, India. The ransacking of this holy place occurred during the Indian Mutiny (one of many) in 1857. Much like all of the sacrosanct artifacts that Indiana Jones was seeking, this gem turned evil after it was removed from it’s temple – and became determined to exact revenge on all of the successive heathens who would ever come in contact with it. The first person to feel the wrath of the Delhi Purple was Colonel W. Ferris, the very man who transported it to England. Soon after completing the voyage, he lost his entire fortune. Having hardly a quid to his name, he passed the vile stone down to his son. And guess what? This unfortunate heir went bankrupt shortly after as well. After a family friend, who was holding the stone for a spell, just up and flung himself off a bridge, the Ferris clan knew they had to be rid of it.
The next person to be plagued by the gem was Edward Heron-Allen, a thriving scribe at the time who bought the nefarious stone on a whim. After a series of unfortunate events, Heron-Allen made the oh-so-generous gesture of trying to give it away to several of his pals. Each one of these chums would give the stone back to him (probably cursing Heron-Allen under their breath) after their luck turned to excrement. One example: a singer who, after only possessing the stone for a short while, completely lost her voice and would never to able to utter a single note again. ‘Not-So-Fast’ Eddie then took the accursed rock and heaved it into the gloomy Regent’s Canal and watched it sink to the murky depths, finally relived to be rid of it. …Or so he thought. Nay, a few months later a jeweler, who knew the memorable stone belonged to Heron-Allen, came upon the jewel and sought out its rightful owner. He gave it to him with a smile (likely expecting a reward), only to watch Edward’s face turn ghost-white.
Heron-Allen would then get the bright idea to send it to the Natural History Museum of London. He did not want it displayed, rather kept hidden away, until three years after his death (guess he thought harm could still come to him after he was dead for two years?) The stone’s dark power seems to be subsiding somewhat, as people who have been charged with transporting it have not died or befallen horrible fates as of late, other than a couple of intense snowstorms and debilitating flus. In a somewhat ironic turn, the last person to move the stone was bequeathed with a horrible stone of his own during its stewardship: a kidney stone.
The Lydian Hoard
The nomenclature of this treasure collection just doesn’t conjure up pleasant thoughts, does it? A conglomeration of golden pieces, ranging from wearable jewelry to pots, plates, pans and other forms of regal cutlery, this heavy load of loot once belonged to King Croesus. He reigned over Lydia from 560 to 547 BC (Lydia is the western portion of modern day Turkey). His epic rule came to an abrupt end when a Persian King, Cyrus the Great, dethroned him (certainly Croesus didn’t think he was all that great). It is uncertain if the curse on this gold began right after Croesus was so unceremoniously check-mated, as its whereabouts were largely unknown for roughly the next 2,500 years. In 1965, Villagers who were poking about in the ground of Güre (a small town in the Uşak section of Turkey) stumbled upon the tomb of an anonymous Lydian Princess. After yanking it open, they were delighted to find a shimmering expanse of golden goodies. They probably weren’t too delighted once an ensuing havoc and ubiquitous madness were unleashed. There were 150 prized relics extracted from the tomb, and each and every person who took part in the purloining of the gold would fall victim to a terrible fate. Disease, famine and death spread through the village like a rapacious and conscious wildfire. Whether the malevolent forces contained in the gold were avenging the death of Croesus or the unidentified, entombed Princess is unsure, but one thing is for certain; don’t buy any discount golden dinner-wear while visiting Turkey.
Black Prince’s Ruby
Yet again, another doom spreading gem with an incorrectly assigned title; it’s a spinel, not a ruby. Weighing in at 170 carats, it’s hard to miss this precious stone (which is a good thing, because it wants to kill you). Much like its deep red hue, the gem’s past is quite bloody in tone. Its first appearance in the record books came thanks to Spanish King Pedro of Castile (known to his buddies as “Pedro the Cruel”), when he murdered the original guardian of the stone in 1367. Severely needing the help of Edward, the Prince of Whales, Mr. Cruel gave the Brit the dazzling crimson stone as payment. Edward was known as the Black Prince because he wore all-black-everything armor. The stone’s curse was unleashed at this point, as ole Pedro would die at the hands of his own brother not long after (apparently a real dysfunctional Cain/Abel relationship there). Nevertheless, Eddie the Black transported the gem to England and it became a part of the royal crown jewels. It mysteriously survived the epic shakedown that Charles I’s empire underwent at the power hungry hands of Oliver Cromwell. Charles the First would lose his crown, his whole head actually, yet the gem curiously lived on. A man – coincidentally named Colonel James Blood – would attempt to snatch the stone from the London Tower, only to meet his own bloody fate… (well, he supposedly survived, but barely.)
La Peregrina Pearl
Pearls look so pure and innocent, don’t they? One would never suspect that they could be responsible for the utter devastation of an entire royal family. Well, that seemingly is the case with the La Peregrina Pearl. Translated from Spanish to “The Pilgrim,” this massive creme colored orb has left a wake of shattered dreams and tainted memories in its past (much like many a pilgrim). When Phillip II of Spain was set to marry the Queen of England, one Mary Tudor, in 1554, everything was going as smoothly as, ahem, a pearl. In fact, the whole world seemed as if it were their oyster – that is, until Phillip gave the recently discovered pearl to his betrothed as a wedding present. Phillip suddenly changed his newlywed mind about Mary (she now repulsed him), and he set sail for what was only supposed to be a 3 hour tour… He was scarcely seen again by his once beloved, and she died a few years later. Keeping the evil bulb in his possession, Phillip would marry two more unlucky dames, who would befall similarly horrific ends. These women were both meant to be brides to Phillip’s heir, Carlos, but the poor boy was stricken with insurmountable mental and physical issues. Phillip’s clan was known as the “Spanish Hapsburgs,” and by the time the 18th century had rolled around, they were completely wiped out by voracious maladies. History attributes this to excessive inbreeding amongst said royalty (kissin’ cousins syndrome), but many believe the family’s downfall to have been spurred on by the poisonous pearl. This prized artifact would eventually be given to Elizabeth Taylor as a wedding present, and we all know how her marriages ended… Perhaps, as the pearl was formed, in the mouth of a mollusk under the inky sea, some dismal energy became trapped inside; ensconced in numerous coats of invertebrate mucus. We’ll never truly know for sure…but probably best to avoid purchasing any gigantic vintage pearls on eBay.
At the end of the day, all some people want is a beautiful gem to call their very own…just be careful what you wish for.