The “Beau Sancy” is one of the most celebrated and coveted diamonds of all time. With a lineage that links the royal families of France, England, Prussia and the House of Orange, the diamond chronicles the history of their fluctuating fortunes for more than 400 years.
And now you can own a piece of European history, as the 35-carat modified “pear double rose cut” diamond will go on the auction block at Sotheby’s Geneva on May 15. It’s expected to fetch up to $4 million, according to ibtimes.com.
The diamond was originally acquired during the 1500s by Nicolas de Harlay, Lord of Sancy, and was subsequently purchased by French King Henri IV and gifted to his second wife, Marie de Medici. Famously, she had the Beau Sancy set in her crown for her coronation as the Queen Consort on May 13, 1610.
Henry IV was assassinated the next day.
After years of rivalry between Marie and her son King Louis XIII, she was eventually exiled in disgrace in 1631. To settle her debts, her possessions were sold, including the Beau Sancy, which was acquired by Prince Frederick Henry of Orange-Nassau.
In the early 1700s, the diamond had made its way to the Prussian monarchy and become the principal ornament of the new royal crown of Prussia.
The diamond remained in Berlin after the last king of Prussia fled to exile at the end of World War I, and at the end of World War II it was transferred to a bricked-up crypt for safe-keeping.
British troops found the stone and returned it to the estate of the House of Prussia, where it had remained ever since.
The Beau Sancy will go on an international tour before the Geneva auction, according to Sotheby’s.
Here are the dates and locations of the public exhibitions:
- Hong Kong – March 30-April 2
- New York – April 14-16
- Rome – April 19
- Paris – April 24-25
- London – April 27-30
- Zurich – May 2-3
- Geneva – May 11-15
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