Muggle and Wizarding cultures alike are filled with stories of cursed jewels and jewellery. Much like another famed “cursed” gem– the Hope Diamond– the Oxford Diamond’s curse is said to have been the cause of various illnesses, extreme misfortune, fits of madness and insanity, and no less than twenty deaths.
Set in 24 carat gold and surrounded by twelve smaller diamonds, the extremely rare coal black Oxford Diamond was mined in the 12th century and immediately purchased by pureblood wizard Barberus Maddock for an undisclosed amount of Galleons. The raw stone was kept in the family vault until the 17th century, when Olaf Maddock, a descendant of Barberus, made the decision to remove the diamond and have it made into a ring for his betrothed, Alice Poole.
Unlike his relatives, Olaf Maddock did not care about preserving the wealth of his family and within three years of his parents’ death, had run through nearly all of his inheritance and family fortune. Fearing bankruptcy and an end to his lavish lifestyle, Olaf knew that it was imperative he find a wealthy wife. The House of Poole was known as an extremely noble and wealthy house and with his charm and persona, Olaf had no trouble convincing Alice or her parents to accept his marriage proposal.
Unfortunately for Alice– who by this time had fallen madly in love with her betrothed– Olaf did not care for her, only her money. After their marriage, Olaf’s false demeanour of charm and love had faded and left in its place bitterness and greed. Despite Alice’s advances and pleading, Olaf would barely look at her– although he had no problem burning through her fortune. Within two years, Olaf had, for the second time, bled his bank accounts dry. Once again, he resolved to replenish his wealth through marriage and he promptly told Alice that they were to be divorced and for any possessions gifted to her to be returned to him.
By this time, Alice’s attempts to gain her husbands affection and love had very nearly driven her mad, and the news of impending divorce finally sent her over the edge. Performing dark magic that had only appeared a handful of times since the Middle Ages, Alice cursed the ring, condemning anyone who wore it to a lifetime of misfortune, illness, and madness.
Not long after his divorce, Maddock remarried, and just as Alice had ordered, his new bride fell ill within the first few months and not even a year into the marriage, perished from an undocumented illness. Maddock, chalking it up to coincidence, was unphased by his bride’s death. He continued to marry women for money, only to have them die in various ways months later: three women died from unknown illness, one threw herself from her bedroom window and the final wife, only known as C. Maddock, was sent to an asylum after exhibiting erratic and disturbing behaviour, dying shorty thereafter.
Olaf Maddock had finally exhausted his pool of potential wives and left with an enormous amount of debt, sold the Oxford Diamond. He died at the age of 57 and while the cause of death is undocumented, it is thought to be at his own hand. Throughout the years, the Oxford Diamond circulated the country, leaving death and destruction in its wake. In 1934, it was placed in the Department of Mysteries at the British Ministry of Magic, where it resides to this very day.
Ms. P. Merryweather, 16 September, 2014