Cursed gem has ties to Bar Harbor 

Bar Harbor summer socialite Evalyn Walsh McLean once owned the Hope Diamond and kept it with her on Mount Desert Island.

BAR HARBOR — From a diamond mine in India to the royal palaces of Europe to a palatial “cottage” on the Shore Path in Bar Harbor, the Hope Diamond, now part of the Smithsonian’s collections, has inspired curiosity, wonder and legends that it brings bad luck to those who have owned it.  

The purportedly “cursed gem” will be the subject of an illustrated talk given by Smithsonian scholar Richard Kurin on Wednesday, Aug. 18, at 4 p.m. at LaRochelle Mansion and Museum, the home of the Bar Harbor Historical Society. 

In addition to being the Smithsonian Distinguished Scholar and Ambassador-at-Large, Kurin is also the former Under Secretary for History, Art and Culture at the Smithsonian. He spent more than a decade on the trail of the cursed gem’s colorful history and authored “Hope Diamond: the Legendary History of a Cursed Gem.” 

Copies of the book will be available for purchase and autographing in the LaRochelle gift shop. 

The program is free and open to the public; however, seating is limited and online-only reservations are required at


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