London: The ‘Delhi Purple Sapphire´, a gemstone that is believed by many to be “cursed”, will go on public display at the vault in the Natural History Museum here on Wednesday.
A spokesman of the Museum said today that the Sapphire was brought to the UK by a Bengal cavalryman Colonel W Ferris after being looted from the Temple of Indra in Kanpur during the Indian Mutiny in 1857.
The soldier thereafter lost money and health, his son doing likewise after inheriting it. A family friend who possessed it for a short time committed suicide.
Edward Heron-Allen, a scientist and friend of writer Oscar Wilde was the last owner of it. He was given the stone in 1890 and was immediately beset by misfortunes. He twice gave the stone to friends who had asked for it -- one “was thereupon overwhelmed by every possible disaster”, and the other, a singer, found “her voice was dead and gone and she has never sung since.”
He even claimed to have thrown the amethyst into Regent’s Canal only for it to be returned to him three months later by a dealer who had bought it from a dredger.
In 1904, he had had enough. He declared: “I feel that it is exerting a baleful influence over my newborn daughter”, had it shipped to his bankers with instructions that it will be locked away till after his death.