Most jewellery pieces are expressions of hope, of beauty, of art and of love, with pieces passed down through families and generations. However, not all pieces of jewellery in history have been made and kept with such altruistic aims.
A story so popular in fiction to the point of cliché, the idea of a piece of mesmerising bespoke crystal jewellery bearing a deadly curse for its bearer is often a statement about avoiding the temptation of greed.
In some cases, the consequences of such avarice are not only confined to the pages of fantasy fiction but are also found in reality, with these being some of the strangest cases.
Ring Of Silvianus
Also known as the Vyne Ring or the “real One Ring to Rule them All” the Ring of Silvianus was a gold signet ring dated to around the fourth century that was said to be related to a Nodens tablet proclaiming a curse on a man named Senicianus, who was believed to have stolen it from him.
Nothing has ever been found about the fate of the ring thief, but what makes this particular curse fascinating is that it was rediscovered in 1929 by Sir Mortimer Wheeler, an archaeologist excavating the site of a Roman temple at Lydney Park in Gloucestershire.
He needed an expert in Anglo-Saxon history so he contacted a Professor John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, which is strongly believed to have inspired the concept of the One Ring from The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings.
The Eye Of Brahma
Also known as the Black Orlov, this black diamond was allegedly stolen from the statue of a Hindu god, causing the beautiful and unique piece to be afflicted with a deadly curse, most infamously found when dealer J.W. Paris leapt from a New York skyscraper in 1932.
After several other owners also jumped to their deaths in the 1940s, its next owner broke the diamond into pieces to try and break the curse, and given that none of its owners have died in mysterious circumstances since, it may have worked.
The Golden Hare
An extreme example of good intentions that were twisted by greed in a rather unexpected way, the search for the Golden Hare was a unique case.
Kit Williams was a designer and artist who made an armchair treasure hunt by the name of Masquerade in 1979 that became a national obsession for nearly four years due to the lure of winning an ornate hare-shaped necklace.
However, the puzzle ended in controversy in 1982 because it was eventually revealed that the winner, “Ken Thomas”, had cheated by being a business partner of a man who was in a relationship with Kit Williams’ ex-girlfriend, who vaguely knew where the Golden Hare was.
Mr “Thomas”, real name Dugald Thompson, subsequently released an unsolvable computer game puzzle by the name of Hareraiser, the company fell into liquidation in 1988.
This is an example of a curse of the owner’s creation, as both Kit Williams himself, and its current owner did not have the same greed and thus avoided the cursed fate of Mr Thompson.