RAPAPORT... Sotheby's will auction the historic Beau Sancy diamond at its Magnificent and Noble Jewels sale in Geneva on May 15, 2012. The 34.98-carat modified pear, double-rose cut diamond, is expected to fetch up to $4 million, or $114,351 per carat, at the auction.
''The Beau Sancy is one of the most fascinating and romantic gems ever to appear at auction and it is an immense privilege for Sotheby’s to handle the sale,'' said David Bennett, the chairman of Sotheby’s jewelry department in Europe and the Middle East.
Provenance is expected to play an important role in the sale and Sotheby’s explained the stone has passed through four European royal families.
The auction house gives the likely source of the diamond as the mines of south central India, near the city of Golconda, and explained that it was acquired in Constantinople in the mid-to- late 1500's by Nicolas de Harlay, Lord of Sancy, from whom it derives its name.
The stone has since fallen under the ownership of France’s King Henri IV, Prince Frederick Hendrick of Orange-Nassau, has sat in the collection of the Queen of England, and served as an ornament in the royal crown of Prussia.
The Beau Sancy has been shown publicly four times in the past 50 years and will be showcased in Hong Kong, New York, Rome, Paris, London, Zurich and Geneva in the coming months before the auction.