Today marks a new chapter in the history of the famous diamond. The New York-based jeweler Harry Winston, the firm who donated the Hope to the museum, has drafted three new, modern settings for the stone. All three designs, exquisitely rendered by two of the firm’s top designers, illustrate the Hope enshrined in baguette diamonds.
The decision to reset the diamond came on the heels of the 50th anniversary of Harry Winston’s donation. “As we were thinking about the anniversary, we came up with a theme of giving the public a chance to see the diamond in a way they’ve never seen it before,” says Jeffrey Post, curator of gems at the National Museum of Natural History. “How often do you have a 50th? We needed to have a celebration.” The celebration, they decided, would be to display the Hope in a new way.
The museum announced today that just one of the three Harry Winston settings will be crafted. The Hope will be temporarily housed in the new setting and put on display this spring for a limited time, after which the setting will return to Harry Winston.
But which setting will be chosen? In an unusual move, museum officials say, the selection will be decided by the public, in a first-ever popular vote.
Between now and September 7, visitors will vote for one of the three designs through an online poll, hosted by the Smithsonian Channel, whose new documentary “Mystery of the Hope Diamond” is in production and due out next spring.
Alas, the new setting, unlike the diamond, isn’t forever. After a limited-time, the diamond will be returned to its original, historic setting. Even the team at Harry Winston can’t argue with that logic. “I think the setting is part of the heritage, it’s part of what the Hope diamond is today,” de Laage says.