With no less than 5 bidders competing for the gem the tense battle lasted no longer than 8 minutes before the gavel sounded. David Bennett, Chairman of the Jewelry Department at Sotheby’s in Europe (who was privileged to handle the sale) said, “ The Beau Sancy is one of the most fascinating and romantic gems ever to appear at auction…”
Often known as the ‘little’ Sancy, the Beau Sancy diamond was the smaller of the two diamonds bearing the name. This smaller version weighs in at a “mere” 34.98 carats. It is a modified pear double rose cut diamond which has been witness to 400 years of European history. It has been passed down to Royal families of England, France, Prussia and the House of Orange. Acquired by Nicolas de Harlai, Lord of Sancy, in the late 1500’s , the Sancy is said to be from the mines of south central India near Golconda. This famous mine has produced the Hope Diamond, the Koh-I-Noor and the Regent.
King Henri IV of France gifted the diamond to his wife Marie de Medici. Queen Marie wanted the Beau Sancy because she knew of the purchase of the larger Sancy Diamond by King James of England. A painting in the Louvre by Frans II Pourbus shows the Queen wearing the diamond in her Coronation Crown. Frederick Hendrick, Prince of Orange then purchased the gem after Henri IV’s assassination and the Queen liquidated some of her assets.
Grandson Prince Frederick Henry, in 1689, became William III of England. He inherited the Beau Sancy and gifted it to his bride Queen Mary II. Another grandson, as they were childless, inherited the Sancy and it became one of the most important stones in the Crown Jewels of Prussia.
The Beau Sancy was in possession of the House of Hohenzollern, Prince Louis-Ferdinand of Prussia-grandson of William II, the last Emperor of Germany- until May 2012 when it was put up for auction at Sotheby’s.
To learn more about the larger Sancy diamond and its mysterious history, click here >