Supposedly Cursed Jewels: The Black Orlov
Similar to other origin stories of cursed gems, the Black Orlov was stolen from a sacred shrine in Puducherry, India. A not so honest monk removed the 195 carats uncut stone from the eye of a statue of Brahma, the Hindu god of creation, wisdom and magic, hence its other name, the Eye of Brahma. Obviously, when you mess with sacred shrines and eyes of gods you are begging for a curse. We have no idea what happened to the monk, but if we take a look at the other poor bastards that stole gigantic jewels, they had a habit of being murdered. Anyhow, the gem next shows up in New York, in the possession of European diamond dealer J.W. Paris, who proceeded to commit suicide by jumping from a skyscraper. Who cares that he was suffering from anxiety due to financial problems and two letters were found in his possession at the time of his death, one addressed to his wife and the other to a fellow jeweler, it must have been the curse!
Next we travel to Russia where it shows up in the possession of the royal family, owned by Princess Nadia Vygin-Orlov who, cursed, leapt to her death. So did the next owner Princess Leonila Galitsine-Bariatinsky. While some point out there was no Russian Princess named Nadia Yvgin-Orlov, others point to Nadezhda Petrovna Orlov, who died of natural causes at 90. And since Leonila Galitsine-Bariatinsky died at 102, I’m thinking maybe a more imaginative curse would have been long life for expatriated Princesses.
Undeterred by the curse, Charles F. Winson bought it. But taking no chances, he cut it into three pieces and set the now 67.5 carats Black Orlov into a brooch of 108 diamonds, suspended from a necklace of 124 diamonds. Actually, I’m pretty sure he didn’t really care about the curse. It has since been displayed American Museum of Natural History in New York City and the Natural History Museum in London. It is now in the possession of another diamond dealer who assures us the curse is broken. Duh!
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