TOEFL iTP | Reading | Hope Diamond

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Perhaps better known than the Cullinan Diamond is the Hope Diamond, a valuable and rare blue gem with a background of more than 300 years as a world traveler. The 112-carat blue stone that later became the Hope Diamond was mined in India sometime before the middle of the seventeenth century and was first known to be owned by Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal in memory of his beloved wife. From India, the celebrated blue stone has changed hands often, moving from location to location in distant corners of the world.

In the middle of the seventeenth century, a trader from France named Jean Baptiste Tavernier acquired the large blue diamond, which was rumored to have been illegally removed from a temple. Tavernier returned to France with the blue gem, where the stone was purchased by the Sun King, Louis XIV. Louis XIV had it cut down from 112 to 67 carats to make its shape symmetrical and to maximize its sparkle. The newly cut diamond, still huge by any standards, was passed down through the royal family of France until it arrived in the hands of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. During the French Revolution, Louis XVI and his wife met their fate on the guillotine in 1793, and the big blue diamond disappeared from public sight.

The diamond somehow managed to get from France to England, where banker Henry Hope purchased it from a gem dealer early in the nineteenth century. The huge bluestone was cut into a 45.5-carat oval, and at his point, it took on the name by which it is known today. The diamond stayed in the Hope family for around a century, when deep indebtedness brought on by a serious gambling habit on the part of one of Henry Hope’s heirs forced the sale of the diamond.

From England, the Hope Diamond may have made its way into the hands of the Sultan of Turkey; whatever route it took to get there, it eventually went on to the United States when American Evelyn Walsh McLean purchased it in 1911. Mrs. McLean certainly enjoyed showing the diamond off; guests in her home were sometimes astounded to notice the huge stone embellishing the neck of Mrs. McLean’s Great Dane as the huge pet trotted around the grounds of her Washington, D.C. home. The Hope Diamond later became the property of jeweler Harry Winston, who presented the stunning 45.5-carat piece to the Smithsonian in 1958. The Hope Diamond is now taking a well-earned rest following its rigorous travel itinerary and is on display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., where it had been since 1958.

  1. The paragraph preceding the passage most likely discussed
  • Why gems are considered valuable
  • How the Hope Diamond was mined
  • A diamond other than the Hope Diamond
  • Methods for mining diamonds
  • The main idea of this passage is that the Hope Diamond
  • Came from India
  • Has moved around a lot
  • Has been cut several times
  • Now resides in the Smithsonian
  • The pronoun “it” in line 8 refers to
  • Its shape
  • The newly cut diamond
  • The royal family
  • The French revolution
  • It can be inferred from the passage that the author is not certain
  • Who bought the Hope Diamond in England
  • Who sold the Hope Diamond in England
  • How the Hope Diamond went from France to England
  • How big the Hope Diamond was in the nineteenth century
  • A “dealer” in line 12 is most likely a
  • Card player
  • Miner
  • Cutter
  • Businessman
  • It can be determined from the passage that Henry Hope most likely had how many carats cut off the Hope Diamond?
  • 21.5
  • 45.5
  • 66.5
  • 67
  • According to the passage, Mrs. McLean
  • Donated the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian
  • Let her dog wear the Hope Diamond
  • Purchased the Hope Diamond from the French
  • Had the Hope Diamond cut to its present size of 45.5 carats
  • Which country is NOT mentioned in the passage as a place where the Hope Diamond spent some time?
  • India
  • France
  • England
  • Denmark
  • Where in the Passage does the author describe what happened to the royal French owners of the diamond?
  • Lines 7-8
  • Lines 10-11
  • Lines 12-14
  • Lines 15-16


Answers on next page!

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