Throughout my academic life I have come across the famed Hope Diamond. In elementary school I remember seeing photos of this magnificent gem. In middle school I remember hearing stories of its notorious curse. In high school and university, I remember learning of its history and physical properties. So, a few years ago when I had the pleasure of visiting Washington D.C., seeing the Hope Diamond personally was in my "Top Ten Things To Do List".
The Hope Diamond is part of the National Gem and Mineral collection in the "Geology, Gems and Minerals" exhibit of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Upon arriving at the National Museum of Natural History, I was amazed to discover that there is no admission fee to any of the Smithsonian museums. Upon entering the museum, I made a beeline for the "Geology, Gems, and Minerals" floor. When I finally got a chance to gaze upon the Hope Diamond, it not only took my breath away, but it gave me that special moment I love so much when I travel...the "WOW" factor moment. I don't know how many times I said the word "WOW" as I stood there admiring this geological miracle.
The sign above says so much in just a few words. I need to point out that The Hope Diamond was removed from its diamond necklace setting in 1997, at which time the Hope Diamond was placed onto a rotating pedestal inside a cylinder made of 3-inch (76 mm) thick bulletproof glass. The diamond necklace (mentioned above and pictured below) is displayed at the base of the rotating pedestal inside the same cylinder.
I don't know how long I stood there admiring this piece of history I had heard so much about. What I do know is that I created a memory that I will treasure (no pun intended) for a lifetime.
For more information on the Hope Diamond, click here.