Cursed Delhi Purple Sapphire stolen from the Hindu temple in India (1857) - an enigma

Cursed Delhi Purple

There  are numerous stories on the cursed diamonds, mostly looted from Hindu temples of India in the past. The reason attributed to such curses and mysteries is Hindu God's revenge on them.

Sapphire is a gemstone variety of the mineral corundum, an aluminum oxide (α-Al2O3). Trace amounts of other elements such as iron, titanium, or chromium can give corundum blue, yellow, pink, purple, orange, or greenish color.

Temple of Indra, Delhi Purple Sapphire  stolen. here

Sapphires belong to the family of  non-red variety of corundum, (red corundum being ruby - 9 on Mohs scale of hardness.). Equally  tough and durable,  they have the same hardness  as corundum next only to diamonds.  Among the wedding anniversary gifts,  sapphires get the preference over other gems  and traditionally they are being given as gift for wedding anniversary  on completion of certain years such as 5th, 23rd and 45th years. Right choice is  star sapphire  for the 65th year.

Unlike  other  sapphires, the Purple ones, that are rarer than other varieties,  do not grab much attention because of misconception about them and  are poorly appreciated. They amazingly change color naturally  under different lighting conditions without any heat treatment and this may not be true of blue and pink sapphires.

The Delhi Purple Sapphire stored in London  Museum of Natural History, was brought to light by one Peter Tandy, a young curator. This  gem stone is shrouded in mystery,  normally unusual among  precious gems, unlike diamonds. We have heard a lot of mysterious stories about famous diamonds that carry curses. An accidental discovery of a type-written note kept along with the purple sapphire by the curator revealed that he had opened the Pandora's box  and all was not well with  this rare gem and possession of it would mean trouble. Set in a silver ring and carrying an astrological sign, this unattractive gem, takes us on a journey down the mystic  memory lane laced with curses, malediction  and stories on the  dark side of its influence on the victims.

Delhi purple sapphire.

Above image:  This haunted object does not bring accidental death but instead it brings misfortune and deep sorrow. It was stolen from the Temple of Indra (the Hindu god of war and weather) in Kanpur, India, during the worst rebellion of 1857 that started off at Meerut cantonment........

Delhi Purple Sapphire was thought to  be of Indian origin and like many famous diamonds it was  stolen  from a Hindu temple. The stone was looted from the temple of 'Indra',
in Cawnpore (Kanpur), Uttar Pradesh  during  the worst rebellion against the British in the year 1857. During the great rebellion  it was a free for all situation and, particularly, certain  greedy  British officers and soldiers tried to lay  their hands on whatever valuable stuff that they could see  in the temples. Incidentally,  the temple, where the theft had occurred, happened to be one  devoted to the Hindu god of war and weather Indira and a curse had been cast on the gem, supposedly God's property.

Colonel W. Ferris, a Bengal Cavalryman was the one who brought the Sapphire (amethyst)  to England. Upon his return to England his  family, which had been  free from any trouble,  all of  a sudden experienced  a turbulent period  during which time their financial positions nosedived triggered by a series of failed investments  made by Mr. Ferris and his son,  pushing the family fortune on the brink of collapse. Further aggravation  of misfortune  was caused by a friend of the Ferris family who unexpectedly committed suicide while in possession of the sapphire which left the family in near financial ruin.  

Whether this misfortune had happened to the family because of their 'Karma' (fate writ by God) or possession of the  cursed sapphire, no body can explain. The moot question that one may be compelled to ask is: Why did the family face the grave situation  the moment  they came to possess the valuable gem?  We have to resign to the logical conclusion, as fatalists  would do,  that the fate of Colonel W. Ferris  had it that way.


What surprises gem experts  interested in mystery and curses  is,  in the case of
Delhi Purple Sapphire, the saga of mystery and pain continued and the next owner author, Edward Heron-Allen in 1890  was in a mess. He was a man of repute and  was a close friend of  Oscar Wilde, the famous English essayist. Being  well educated and successful academic never in his life had he been either superstitious or believer in mystic powers. But all that had changed after the arrival of  Delhi Purple Sapphire into his family.  

A series of misfortunes that he went through like falling domino chips took him by surprise. This positively led him to conclude that he was in possession of a cursed gem  looted from a Hindu temple in India and possessing God's gem was an act of blasphemy and against the edict of Hindu GodLater his friends, to whom he gave the gem had some setbacks, which they had never dreamed of. Having received the stone from his friends, disgusted as he was, Edward threw the stone into a local canal. The stone, to his astonishment came back to him after a few months through a jeweler who got it from the dredger. Edward  was now more convinced than ever before about the effect of  cursed sapphire on the owners. So, after 14  eventful years, in 1904 he put the stone  in a sealed envelope  and kept it in a protective box  with charms and deposited  in a bank with instruction to hand it over to the London Museum and advised his daughter  not to touch it. His message attached to the box was quite clear:  "Whoever shall then open it, shall first read out this warning, and then do as he pleases with the jewel. My advice to him or her is to cast it into the sea. Concerned about the recurrence of misfortune and tragedy associated with the gem stone from India, he was of the opinion that  the Delhi Purple Sapphire was  "terribly cursed and is stained with the blood, and the dishonor of everyone who has ever owned it," according to Edward Heron-Allen. 

 John Whittaker, a member of the Natural History Museum who was assigned the task of  transporting the purple sapphire in  his care to the Heron-Allen Society for an event. It is believed that during the transit John Whittaker and his wife were suddenly caught unawares in a thunderstorm. It was a horrible experience for the couple locked-up in a car. Subsequently, again he made a few attempts to transport the stone to the society. Each time he had either some physical problem or met with accident, etc out of which he had to wiggle out  with great efforts.

Numerous mysteries associated with diamonds and gemstones remain unanswered. The crux of the matter is the mysteries did occur in the past regardless of owners, places and countries. It is an enigma that needs detailed research.