Name: The Sancy Diamond
Also Known As: The Grand Sancy Diamond, Le Beau Sancy Diamond (Mistakenly)
Price Estimation: £5.3 Million
Size: 11.04 grams
Color: Pale Yellow
Cut: Modified Brilliant Cut, Shield Shaped
Carat: 55.23 carats
Originally Belonged To: Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy
The Sancy Diamond’s history is an ancient one – in fact, it’s known history dates back to about 1570, and its discovery is believed to have happened well before then. Several sources state that “Le Beau Sancy Diamond,” as it is often called, belonged to Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy. When he died in 1495, the stone was passed on to his cousin, King Manuel I of Portugal.
It’s important to take a pause here to note that the Sancy Diamond is different from Le Beau Sancy diamond, which is a 34.98 carat modified pear double rose cut that, in 2012, was sold at Sotheby’s in Geneva for over $9.5 million. Le Beau Sancy diamond is equally famous, having been owned by a number of important figures throughout history.
The Sancy diamond is named after its first French owner, Nicolas de Harlay, seigneur de Sancy, who was also the original owner of Le Beau Sancy diamond. There are two theories about how he came to possess the Sancy. The first is that D. Antonio Antonio, Prior of Crato, fled Portugal with the crown jewels when his country was threatened with Spanish rule. He spent his life trying to convince allies to restore the Portuguese throne, and sold the diamond to seigneur de Sancy.
Another theory is that de Sancy purchased the gem in Constantinople. Either way the beautiful, pale yellow diamond still bears his name today.
Through the years, the Sancy diamond has been associated with many famous names, and has been through some perilous adventures. For example, Henry III of France, who suffered from premature baldness, borrowed the gem and wore it on his cap. Henry IV borrowed the stone also, but used it for the much more practical purpose of financing an army.
Legend states that the diamond was on its way to Henry IV, but was late in arriving. De Sancy was convinced that the messenger he had hired to carry the diamond to the king was loyal, and a search was mounted. The man had indeed been robbed, but had swallowed the Sancy diamond a short time before being killed; when his body was disinterred, the stone was found in his stomach.
De Sancy sold his famous diamond to James I around 1605. He had it set into the Mirror of Great Britain, a jewel created to mark his union of the Crowns of England and Scotland. It had five main stones including four diamonds and a ruby, plus two pearls and a number of smaller diamonds. The jewel was pawned by the ill-fated king in 1625, and it was split up. The Sancy Diamond was reclaimed, but was again pawned in 1654, after which it became part of the French Crown Jewels. At the time, the Sancy diamond price was £25,000.
During the French Revolution, brigands raided the Royal Treasury, stealing the Sancy diamond, along with other famous diamonds including the Hope diamond and the Regent diamond.
The gemstone did not resurface until 1828, when Prince Demidoff of San Donato reportedly purchased it. By that time, the Sancy diamond price had soared to £80,000. The stone remained in the Demidov Family Collection until 1865, when it was sold to an Indian prince, Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy. This time, the Sancy diamond price was £100,000. The prince sold it a year later to an unknown buyer.
In 1867, the Sancy Diamond resurfaced. This time, the gem was on display at the Paris Expedition, and its price tag was a stunning one million francs. No one knows who purchased it then; it remained out of the public domain for 40 years.
The Sancy diamond appeared next in 1906, when purchased by William Waldorf Astor, 1st Viscount Astor, as a wedding gift for Lady Astor, who wore it on a tiara. The prominent, philanthropic Astor family possessed the stone for 72 years and even loaned it to the Louvre for display, until in 1978, the 4th Viscount Astor sold it to the museum. At the time, the Sancy diamond price was $1 million.
If you visit the Louvre, you can find the fabled Sancy diamond resting in the Apollo Gallery, sharing the spotlight with other famous diamonds including the Hortensia and the Regent. If sold at auction today, the Sancy diamond price would be in the tens of millions, at least. With its incredible history and stunning, unique beauty, it is worth a king’s ransom.
Sources: reuters.com, pinterest.com, blog.poesie.com.br
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