Monday, November 26, 2007

The Cursed Delhi Purple Sapphire

Sunday Times [London, UK]
25 November 2007

Out of the cupboard and calling to you: the cursed Delhi Purple Sapphire

A gemstone `stained with blood and dishonour' haunted anyone who owned it. This week it goes on show for the first time

Steve Farrar

Some 34 years ago Peter Tandy, a young curator at the Natural History Museum, happened upon a jewel while working among the great lines of mineral cabinets. From a scientific perspective, the stone was nothing special, though its setting was rather bizarre, bound by a silver ring decorated with astrological symbols and mystical words with two scarab-carved gems attached. It was a typewritten note that accompanied the jewel, an amethyst known as the Delhi Purple Sapphire, that caught Tandy's eye.

"This stone is trebly accursed and is stained with the blood, and the dishonour of everyone who has ever owned it," said the note, which had been written by Edward Heron-Allen, a scientist, friend of Oscar Wilde and the amethyst's last owner. It carried a curse and had left a trail of bad luck and tragedy. [...]