Sotheby’s to auction historic Beau Sancy diamond
February 29, 2012 – Sotheby’s Geneva said that its jewellery sale on 15 May will be led by the Beau Sancy, one of the most important historic diamonds ever to come to auction.
Passed down through the royal families of France, England, Prussia and the House of Orange, the celebrated diamond has been the witness of 400 years of European history.
Weighing 34.98 carats, the modified pear double rose cut diamond comes to the market with an estimate of $2-4 million.
Commenting on the forthcoming sale, David Bennett, Chairman of Sotheby’s Jewellery Department in Europe and the Middle East, said: “The Beau Sancy is one of the most fascinating and romantic gems ever to appear at auction.”
Acquired by Nicolas de Harlay, Lord of Sancy (1546-1629), in Constantinople in the mid to late 1500’s, the Beau Sancy is most likely to have originated from the mines in southcentral India near the city of Golconda, the source of some of history’s best-known diamonds, including the Hope, the Koh-i-Noor and the Regent.
In 1604, the Beau Sancy was bought for 75 000 livres (25 000 écus) by Henri IV and gifted to his wife, Marie de Medici.
The Queen of France had long desired the stone, particularly after learning that de Sancy had sold a larger stone, today known as the “Sancy”, to King James I of England.
Testament to the importance her Majesty placed on the diamond, the Beau Sancy was mounted on the crown she wore at her coronation in 1610, as shown in a portrait by Frans II Pourbus, the Younger, now in the Louvre.