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The Washington times. [volume] (Washington [D.C.]) 1902-1939, February 12, 1922, Image 42

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May Yohe't Hand With the Famous Hope Diamond Sot
in the Form of a Ring?and?May Yohe Photographed
x With the Hope Diamond and the Other
Nk,. Hope Jewel* When She Waa Lady
Francis Hope.
Startling T rail of Murder, Disaster,
Misery and Misfortune Which
Has Followed the Owners of
for Centuries Told by
Owned and Wore the
READERS of these pages some months
?go will recall the series of articles
on the "curse" of the Hope Diamond
by May Yohe, who at one time wore the ill
fated jewel while she was the wife of Lord
Francis Hope.
The long list of disasters which pursued
the various owners of this ill-fated gem for
hundreds of years is a matter of historic
A few dayf ago a law suit in the New York
courts brought to light the fact that another
famous and historic bit of jewelry has also
had a record of miafortune almost as remark
able as the Hope Diamond?the celebrated
pearl necklace of wicked old Empress Cath
erine II. of Ruasia.
Although the name of the American woman
who bought the necklace was not revealed at
f T
first, it finally became known that the pur
* chaser, was Mrs. Anna Thompson Dodge,
widow of one of the multi-millionaire auto- <
mobile manufacturers of Detroit.
This pearl necklace containa 389 pearls and
weighs more than 4,000 grains. May Yohe
has studied the history of many of the world's
most famous jewels, and she reveals here to
day the extraordinary list cf misfortunes
which have overtaken those who wete asso
ciated with these matchless pearla. She writes:
"In many ways tKe history of *he great
necklace and the famous diamond are curi
gusly alike?in some respects it seems to me
the tragedies bound up with the Empress'*
pearls are more terrible, more savagely cruel.
Not all the heaped-up millions of the Dodge
family wotrtd tempt me to touch the fatal
necklace even with the tip of ray shoe."
The Murder of Prince Ivan by Catherine's Order', Following Her
Acquisition of the Necklace. x *
(C) 101?. by American WVfkir. I
of the
Czar Paul,
Son of Catherine,
to Whom She
the Necklace.
By May Yoke,
Formerly Lm4y Frmncit Nmpa.
WITH the deepest Interest I bare
read the recent disclosure in
the newspapers that the historic
pearl necklace of the wicked old Empress
Catherine II. of Russia has found its way
to America and is now owned by the
Dodge family, of Detroit, the automobile
May Heaven help these good people
who know not the deadly serpent they
have gayly welcomed to their bosoms!
I once owned and wore the famous and
malevolent Hope Diamond. As the bride
of Lord Francis Hope I had the world be
fore me?wealth, title, social position,
all that my heart could long for.
And all was swept away as if it had
been a dream. The "tcurse" of the great
Hope Diamond had made me its victim
as it had ruined the lives of scorc of
others since it left the idol's breast in
India, six centuries ago, and began it*
erne! history of disaster which has left an
appalling trail for six hundred years. *
As the glassy eye of the snake holds a
deadly charm for its victim, so the history
of the Hope Diamond and other evil Jewels'
of historic fame has had a strange fasci
nation for me.
I have travelled pretty much all over
the world and, year after year, I have In
cidentally busied myself with piecing to
gether the histories of some of the most
Interesting of the well authenticated "un
lucky" Jewels. So it was that I had be
come very familiar with the cruel history
of Catherine's famous pearls as well as
i the history of the Hope Diamond which
had blighted Jty own life.
In many ways the history of the great
necklace and the famous diamond are cur
iously alike?In soma respects It seems, to
me the tragedies bound tip with the Em
press's pearls are more terrible, more sav
agely cruel. '
Some of the owners of the Hope Dla
\nond escaped without fatal mishap?al
most none of the owners of wicked Cath
erine's necklace escaped without fatalities
of the most bloodthirsty, bart>arous kind.
Not all the, heaped-up milHons of the
Dodge family would tempt me to touch
the fatal necklace even with the tip of
my shoe.
The two Dodge brothers who made the
Dodge fortune and negotiated the pur
chase of the cursed pearls only a few
months ago are dead! Cut off one after
the othbr in the prime of life Just as they
began to enjoy the millions! Twice only
has the widow worn the gems, and she has
/ passed them on to her newly married
Like the freaks of lightning so the male
volent manifestations o< ill-omened gems
are capricious. The two heads of the
?Dodge millions met untimely deaths. Will
the other members of the family be
spared? I have niy own opinion, but let
the future reveal Itself in due time.
Every Czarina of Russia who has worn
the great necklace since the days of Cath
erine the Great has suffered some dreadfui
tragedy or bitter misfortune.
The Dowager Empress Marie, who still
survives, has known every agony that could
befall a sovereign and mother. Her first
appearance wearing the grea^ pearl neck
lace followed shortly ^fter the assassins- <
DC. Ormt Brffntn Rlrht* rr?t.
Hon of her father-In law, Czar Alexander
' II. by the Nihilists.
Her husband, Alexander III., then ascend
ed the throne and it became her right to
wear the famous necklace whenever she
wished. From the beginning of their reign
the Csar was subjected to attempts to as
sassinate him. It Is said that there were
not less than forty-eight distinct attempts
to kill him.
In all ihese dangers the proud Ciarina
shared. She had th? unhappiness of seeinr
one son grow up a consumptive and an
other a nervous wreck.-hls condition cause.!
by the perils to which she had bewi coi,
stantly sub)?cted. Her husband himself
d ed of disease Induced by the terrors of
nia position.
In the autumn of her life. Involved <n
,of,the Kreat war and th?
Bolshevik revolution, she had the agonv
of knowing the cruel fate that had be
talle? her son Nicholas II.. his wife and a>l
his children. The Empress Marie escaped
from Russia with a handful of her trinkets
To-day she is living in a little villa in Dei,
mark, overcome by the horror of all th&t
baa happened to her.
.r?L^ 8f^rreJy n,ece8Bary to dwell on the
tragedy that has befallen the Czarina Alex
andra. who perished with her husband an-I
all her children at Ekaterinburg In 191*?.
According to the reports which have
reached us the Czar and Czarina, their fo.i
daughters and their only son. after their
ong imprisonment, were shot like dogs in
the cellar^nd then the house was burned
down with their bodies.
Tragedy of the Late
Czarina's Coronation.
It is interesting to recall the tragic ex
perience that happened to the young Czar
ina immediately after her coronation. Dur
ing the week following the coronation she
frequently wore the necklace of Catherine.
A great public feast wis held, according to
an ?Pen space called
the Khodinka Field, about two miles from
Moscow. Hundreds of thousands of peo
ple gathered here and the Czar was to be
present. A great panic jtook place and the
people tried to run away. It happened tha?
a deep ditch had been dug round the field
and the fleeing people fell Into this and
crushed one another to death. Hundreds
of 'Jje? were killed?800, It was said.
The dead bodies were thrust out of sight
and many of them were lying under tha
pavilion from which Czar Nicholas later
addressed the people. He was in ignoranco
of what had happened '
A splendid ball had been plaiined that
night at the French Embassy to do honor
to the new Czar and Czarina. In spite of the
great catastrophe that had happened th*?v
attended this ball. The Czarina wore the
necklace of Catherine the Great. It Is said
?at the monarch was still in ignorance of
the disaster that had happened, but. In anv
case, their appearance at such a festivity
under the circumstances was one of the
Tactors that contributed to their downfal'.
The exact history of the necklace 3nc*?
the death of the late Czar has not been
fully revealed. It was seized In 1917 by
the Bolshevik government with the princi
pal Russian crown Jewels, and evidently
mter sold by the revolutionists privately.
Thus It came on the market and the owners
waited until a purchaser rich enough tq
buy it should appear.
In 1920 the Dodge brothers had settled
their dispute with Henry Ford, wherebv,
they received $27,000,000 for their Interest
In his business. After this event Hbrac?
Dodge promised his wife the finest neck
lace in the world as a recognition of her
great help In making his fortune.
He then purchased the necklace of Cat V
erlne the Great from the Cartiers. the Jew
ellers of Now York and Paris. They had
In turn obtained It from the Rengulnt
brothers, dealers in antiques. Their pay.
ment was to be fixed according to the price
received by the Cartiers. They allege that
they have received payment only accoH
ng to a sale price of $826,000. whereas
they claim the sum actually received bv
the Cartiers was $1.500.000. The Benguiat'a
have begun a law suit on this ground
The Jewel Is described In the suit as "n
five-row necklace of .189 perfectly gradu
^a^,s- weighing 4,306 grains, with
enamel clasp representing Catherine, Em
preaa of RuraIa."
Soon after Mrs. Dodge received the great
necklace Horace Dodge died from a mys
terious illness following a big banquet.
-Hie brother, John F. Dodge, also died from
a similar cause.
This remarkable necklace, probably the
most beautiful in existence, was the chief
ornament of the vast Jewel collection of
Catherine the Great. Collecting Jewels was
one of the greatest of her passions and she
used all her immense wealth and power to
enrich her collection.
According to historical memoirs the great
jewel was arranged in seven rows in the time
of Catherine. It has undergone many
changes since then and some points in its
history are still involved In mystWy. The
greater part of the necklace originally
hung around one of the columns in the
throne room of tlje Great Mogul at Delhi.
It witnessed the sack of the palace and
the slaughter of the Mogul and his harem.
It was captured by a Persian chieftain
and stolen from him by a French officer
who murdered him. Alexis Orloff, the ter
rible favorite of ft?e Empress Catherine,
bought it from the Frenchman for $250,000
in order to present it to the Empress a*
an incomparable gift. The Frenchman had
not enjoyed his wealth three months when
the despoiled Hindus tracked him down
and murdered him in his bed.
To the original Hindu necklace Cath
erine added a number of other famom
pearls in order to perfect its matchless
It may be urged that the Empress Cath
erine the Great, the first Russian sovereign
w\o owned the necklace, was not alto
gether unlucky and did not demonstrate
the evil influence of the Jewel. It fcppears
that the ill-luck which has followed the
jewel miy skip over a generation and then
reappear with renewed virulence in the
next. *
Thus It was with the Hope Diamond, as
I have already pointed out. Between the
reign of King Louis XIV., when disaster
fell on every woman who wore it and the
reign of King Louis XVI. and Queen Marie
Antoinette, .there was a generation when
no famous tragedies were associated with
It Is true that Catherine the Great en
joyed a long reign and immense power,
but. was she not in the end remorse
stricken by the terrible miseries she had
caused and the tragedies she had brought
on all around her? There is not in all
history a -record of a woman more wicked
and cruel and more abandoned to shame
less licentiousness that this Empress.
The Curse Upon
Catherine's Entourage.
It seems that all the evil influence which
tradition attributes to the jewel was con
centrated in the Express, who wore it,
and produced its deadly effects on those
about her, while not apparently affecting
her directly.
Immediately after donning the necklace
with pride and Joy, Catherine became In
volved in the shocking murder of her hus
band, Czar Peter III., who was the sole
obstacle to her exercising supreme power
in Russia. The Czar, who was feeble
minded and a drunkard, had Incurred
great unpopularity in Russia. His wife
spent her time with the villanous and
murderous Orloff brothers and a band of
licentious favorites.
Taking advantage of a moment of pub
lic disorder, Alexis Orloff and other crea
tures of Catherine kidnapped the Czar in
his palace and Imprisoned him secretly.^
At first they gave him poison. He waa
of strong physique, discovered that he was
poisoned and cried for milk. They tried
to force him to take more poison, but hp
"Then," says the historian, Durand, '
"the Czar's valet dared to Intercede for
his royal master, but the miscreants forced
this dangerous witness to retire, and con
tinued their ill-treatment. In the mlflst
of the scuffie the youngest of the Princes
Rariatensky, who commanded the guard,
entered ttee room. -Orloff had thrown the
Czar upon his back and pressed his ..nee
upon his breast: with one hand he seized
his throat, and clenched his head with the
other. Bariatensky and Tep!of then
passed a napkin about his neck with a
(Continued ow Sert Page.)

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