Burg Hohenzollern. Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia is to separate from the biggest jewel in the Prussian crown. The "Beau Sancy" diamond which once adorned Marie de Medici and Mary Stuart will be auctioned at Sotheby's.
The Beau Sancy is one of the most precious diamonds in the world. In the declaration of the auction house Sotheby's, on the occasion of the sale of this beautiful piece, on May 15 in Geneva, it is said: "Passed down from generation to generation by four royal families, the famous stone is witness more than four hundred years of European history ".
This gem of 34.98 carats adorned Marie de Medici on the occasion of her coronation as wife of King Henry IV in 1610. Since 1702, this diamond has been the property of the House of Prussia. King Frederick I was responsible for adding the jewel to the new royal crown.
And now, 310 years later, the head of the House of Prussia is to auction the largest piece of his collection. Why? Michaela Blankart, director general of the Prussian administration, said that Georg Friedrich has not only received the heritage of his grandfather Louis-Ferdinand, but also "inherited many obligations" including pension payments, financial aid and appanages for the parent. "These charges must be financed," Ms Blankart said.
The great-great-grandson of Kaiser Wilhelm II hopes that the sale will bring between a half million to three million Euros, Sotheby's etimated value for the "pear-shaped diamond" with its double cut roses and its dimensions are: 22.78 mm height, 19.58 mm wide and 10.98 mm deep.
The report of the sale is not an emotional one. No one in the family has worn the jewel in decades. "As far as we know, the diamond was last used during the time of the Kaiser," said Ms Blankart. It used to be worn by Prussian princesses on their wedding day and at some royal occasions. Queen Elizabeth Christine, wife of Frederick the Great, wore the gem in a bouquet of diamonds. Queen Louise, wife of Frederick William III, particularly liked the Beau Sancy. The Empress Augusta also wore it in her wedding diamond necklace.
In November 1918, when Kaiser Wilhelm II fled into exile in Holland, this valuable stone remained, with the other Crown Jewels, at the Imperial Palace in Berlin. During the Second World War, the collection was stored in a walled crypt at Bückeburg where it was later discovered by British troops that handed it over to a descendant of the House of Prussia. Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia inherited the jewel from his grandfather Louis Ferdinand (1907-1994).
The Beau Sancy most probably comes from the mines of south central India, near the town of Golconda. The stone was named after the french financier Nicolas de Harley, Lord of Sancy (1546-1629) who acquired it in Constantinople. The french king Henri IV bought it in 1604 and offered it to his wife Marie de Medici. After the murder of Henry, the House of Orange Nassau in 1641 bought the stone.
The same year, the diamond was used to strengthen the alliance of the Netherlands with major European powers by arranging the marriage between the future William II of Orange Nassau and Mary Stuart, daughter of Charles I of England and granddaughter of la Medicis. During the XVII century, the Beau Sancy passed back and forth between the royal houses of England and of Orange Nassau, until the first king of Prussia, Frederick I bought it in 1702.
The greatest jewel of the Prussian Crown has been exhibited only four times over the last fifty years. The first time in 1972, in Helsinki, along its "big-brother", the Great Sancy. The second time, in 1985, Hamburg, on the occasion of the exhibition of treasures of the House of Hohenzollern. The third time, in 2001, in Paris, again next to the Great Sancy, at the National Museum of Natural History and, finally, in 2004, Munich, on the occasion of the exhibition of treasures from Germany. The diamond was never exhibited in the hall of treasures at Burg Hohenzollern.
Now the diamond takes a trip to increase its fame and renown. Before the auction of May 15, in Geneva, the Beau Sancy will be visible in an international exhibition tour.