The Hope Diamond's ownership is known for almost four centuries, starting with being cut from Le bleu de France,
a raw stone presented to Louis XIV, the French king who built the palace of Versailles
to warehouse nobles remote from their power base in the sticks.
Boron gives the gem its blue color. The 45.52 carat size is easily hit by laser beams,
an important tool for figuring out the secrets of gemstone formation early in Earth's history.
The catalog of the wealthy Hope family of London (banking) gave a name to the stone,
which passed to Washington DC socialite Evalyn Walsh McLean, something of an eccentric who
loved to wear it in public, leaving others to worry about getting it insured for amounts that reached $250 million.
In 1958, the Hope Diamond was in the hands of a New York dealer who decided to donate it to the Smithsonian,
and dropped it off at the post office. Postage was $2.44, but a million dollars in insurance cost another $142.85.