Final Project

Puzzle Piece #4 Use of Images With The Hope Diamond

My final project has the advantage of being based around a very photogenic object: The Hope Diamond. However, below is one important image that will be used, and this image is admittedly at first glance a little boring.

What does a picture of postage have to do with an iconic diamond?! A rather interesting component in the storied past of this gemstone is the fact that to get the diamond to its current resting place at the Smithsonian, it was placed in an envelope and mailed via USPS in 1958. That is correct, the incredibly rare, 45.52 carat diamond, with a value of $350 million dollars today, was put in a regular envelope by jeweler Harry Winston and with $2.44 worth of postage and $148.85 of purchased postal insurance, DROPPED IN A MAILBOX TO BE SENT TO WASHINGTON DC.

I think it is important to showcase the juxtaposition of this incredibly rare and valuable piece of American history with this picture of an everyday envelope as its transport vessel. Some questions that can be inferred: as New York City is not terribly far from DC, why wasn’t the stone driven to the museum? Was the fact it was placed in an envelope lower it’s perceived value? In 1958, was there simply more trust in our mail delivery system? How does this compare with how valuable items are transported today?