Wednesday, May 16, 2012

April Showers Bring May...Diamonds?

Apparently it's raining (or reigning, as many of these amazing stones come from royal houses) diamonds during the busy gem auction month of May.  Some of the most important diamonds in history have come upon the auction block and have passed into the hands of individuals whose wealth is so stealth they have 10 million dollars of disposable income budgeted just for baubles.

First we have the Beau Sancy diamond, purchased yesterday for $9.7 million dollars by an anonymous buyer at Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels auction in Geneva.  Remaining anonymous is important because the buyer is thought to be European and they are supposed to be poor these days and behaving themselves with all kinds of austerity.  The oldest diamond to ever land on the auction block, the 400 year old, 34.98 carat Beau Sancy, was worn by Marie de Medici during her coronation as queen consort to Henri IV in France in 1610.  Apparently the story goes that once Marie saw the diamond she had to have it and nagged the philandering Henri until he bought it for her.  This tells us that nagging one's spouse for special favors remains an extremely successful technique some 400 years later. 

By 1631, crippled with debt, Marie, now the widowed Queen Mother of France, sold the Beau Sancy to a royal Dutch family where it was used to seal the wedding of William II of Orange to Mary Stuart, daughter of King Charles I.  After William's death, Stuart returned to England and sold the diamond to fund her brother's, Charles II, fight for the throne.

Passed among the royal families in France, England, Prussia and the Netherlands, the stone was sold by the Royal House of Prussia, the line of descendants that once ruled Prussia.

Next blog...for all of the Jamie Fraser, "Outlander" freaks out there, a historic diamond once owned by Charles Edward Stuart, better known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, who owned the stone when the Jacobite Rebellion was crushed at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.

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