Sotheby’s is gearing up to auction off the 400-year old ‘The Beau Sancy’ diamond on May 14 in Geneva, Switzerland. The diamond is among the world’s most coveted jewels due to its illustrious history. And in what has been dubbed “the auction of a lifetime,” the 34.98-carat, colorless, flawless, pear-cut diamond is expected to fetch $4 million.
The Beau Sancy diamond took the jewelry world by storm during the 16th century. Originally owned by the Lord of Sancy, the diamond was cut from the famed gem mines in Golconda, India. The trendsetting piece was the first to feature a pear-cut design, which made it rare and highly desirable. The striking look of the diamond was so distinct that subsequent gemstones were fashioned after it.
Thus, the Beau Sancy diamond was instrumental in transforming diamond jewelry from rudimentary shapes to the stylish pieces that are common today.
The Lord of Sancy sold the Beau Sancy diamond to King Henri IV of France in 1604, who bought it as a gift for his wife, Marie de Medici. When the King was assassinated in May of 1610, Medici fell into poverty and was forced to sell her prized possession to Frederick Henry, the Prince of Orange.
Over the last several centuries, the Beau Sancy diamond was passed among several royal European families, and is now owned by the descendants of the last emperor of Germany.
The Beau Sancy diamond is currently on display in Paris. It will make stops in London and Zurich before heading to auction.