The rarity of certain precious stones and their heroic stories has resulted in some diamonds gaining a mythical status. One such stone is the Sancy Diamond, a diamond of no fewer than 55.23 carats and with a unique pale-yellow appearance. The diamond, which is one of the most beautiful diamonds in the world, has a turbulent history but it is now back in safe hands in France. What is the story behind the Sancy Diamond?

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The history of the Sancy Diamond

The Sancy Diamond was first mentioned in books in the year 1477. Charles the Bold lost the Battle of Nancy. He fled and was found dead two days later; he had fallen off his horse. He was succeeded by his daughter Mary of Burgundy (who was later at the cradle of the diamond engagement ring).  The diamond probably fell prey to the Portuguese during the battle, because the Sancy Diamond first appeared in Portugal.
The stone stayed in Portuguese hands for almost a century before continuing its journey
James I of England - James I of England possessed the diamond for some time.
In 1570, the property owner of Sancy, Nicolas de Harlay, bought the precious stone to add to his collection of precious stones. De Harley clearly estimated its value because he decided not to sell the diamond. He lent the diamond to the French Court where pomp and circumstance were always in style. Until 1596, the Sancy was part of the French Court's jewellery collection, albeit as a borrowed object.

De Harley didn't want to sell the diamond, but he was forced to take measures in 1596 to save his financial situation. He decided to sell the diamond, but not to the French Court. James I of England made the winning bid and the diamond would then stay out of France for almost a century.

James II lost the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, fled to France and sold the diamond to Louis XIV, the Sun King. The Sancy remained at the French Court, but things went wrong during the riots of the French Revolution. Various rare diamonds were stolen, including the Sancy and The Blue Hope Diamond.
The precious stone reappeared in 1828 and the Russian Prince Anatoly Demidov bought the diamond. In 1865, the prince sold the Sancy to a French jeweller, after which William Waldorf Astor bought the stone in 1906 and gave it to his daughter-in-law as a wedding present.

How did the Sancy Diamond get its name?

James I of England gave the Sancy its name. He christened the diamond as the Sancy Diamond because he bought it from Nicolas de Harlay, property owner of Sancy. In the Tower of London, where it stayed for a while, the diamond had a plaque stating: 'bought of Sauncy'.

Discover the largest and most famous diamonds in the world

The value of the Sancy Diamond

An etching of the Sancy diamond - An etching of the Sancy diamond
The Sancy is really unique, especially its colour. We can evaluate the French diamond on the basis of the 4 Cs:

  • Carat: 55.23
  • Colour: pale yellow
  • Cut: a symmetrical shield-shape with two identical surfaces
  • Clarity: unknown


The value of the diamond has never been calculated because its value is also in its amazing history. The diamond is currently estimated at just over six million euro. It is one of the most famous diamonds in the world.

Where can you admire the Sancy Diamond?

The son of the Astors inherited the Sancy diamond and sold it to the Louvre. It can still be admired there today, alongside other French Crown Jewels. After over half a millennium of exciting history, it is definitely worth visiting the Louvre to see the Sancy Diamond.

Why buy diamonds from BAUNAT?

So, why buy diamond jewellery from BAUNAT? We also offer a customised service from a budget of €4,000. Working with our experts you can design diamond jewellery entirely how you want it. If you have any questions about our jewellery or about certain styles and trends, our experts are always on hand to provide advice.

The diamonds and other precious stones from BAUNAT are of course of the highest possible quality. BAUNAT buys its diamonds directly from the source, eliminating intermediaries and enabling us to offer jewellery online 30% to 50% cheaper. Moreover, we only work with high-quality materials. For the precious metals, this is 18 carat gold and 950 platinum.

Find out about the most famous diamonds in the world

With its rich history, the Sancy Diamond has become one of the most valuable diamonds in the world. Read more about other valuable diamonds.

Frequently asked Questions

What are the 4 C's, and what makes them important when buying diamonds?

The quality of diamonds is translated into the 4 C's:

  • Carat – the weight of the diamond.
  • Colour – a clearer diamond colour means higher quality.
  • Clarity – fewer imperfections means the diamond reflects more light and sparkles more.
  • Cut – refers to the proportions of the stone, the symmetry and the diamond brilliance.

The 4 C's not only provide verifiable information about the quality of your stone, they also make it possible to make your diamond traceable. When you are going to buy diamonds, you will always get a certificate that proves the value of your diamond.

Carat

Carats in diamonds mean the weight or the size of the stone. 1 carat equals 0.2 grams and is expressed on a scale of 100 points or 200 milligrams. The scale gives a very precise diamond weight and is rounded off to two decimal places.

The carat weight can sometimes seem to differ due to different cutting methods, but will always express the same weight. Some diamond cuts look optically larger than others because of the proportions of the diamond.

For diamond jewelry, carat refers to the total of all the included diamonds. A diamond necklace with 10 stones of 0.30 ct. will therefore be a necklace of 3.00 ct.

Colour

Most diamonds suitable for jewelery have a colour ranging from white to yellow. The correct colour of a diamond is determined based on an internationally accepted colour set, the master set, developed by the GIA. The colour ranges from D, colourless and most coveted, to Z, the most yellow.

If you are interested in buying diamonds for a pure investment, you should look for a higher colourlessness than if you want to buy diamonds in jewellery.

The names of colours have changed over time, so you might encounter terms in the diamond world that you have not heard before when you are ready to buy diamonds. However, the quality requirements concerning colour have not changed.


A diamond can also have other colours such as brown, orange, pink, blue and more. The most intense of these colours are named 'Fancy Coloured' and belong to a separate category. The 'Fancy' name is also mentioned on the certificate for your diamond. Coloured diamonds are extremely rare and therefore very expensive.

The grades of coloured diamonds are categorized into 9 subdivisions that all have a different nuance based on colour, colour saturation and depending on the individual stone. In order of least colour to most colour, they get one of the following names:

  • Faint
  • Very Light
  • Light
  • Fancy Light
  • Fancy
  • Fancy Intense
  • Fancy Vivid
  • Fancy Dark
  • Fancy Deep

 

'Faint' shows the lightest colour that a diamond graded as 'Fancy Coloured' can have. 'Fancy Deep' is the deepest and most expensive colour saturation. Buying coloured diamonds is often very lucrative but requires a higher investment than buying colourless diamonds.

Clarity

To determine the clarity or brightness of a stone, an expert must be consulted. He examines the stone under a magnifying glass that magnifies the inside of the diamond 10 times. If no impurities, also known as blemishes, are observed under these conditions, the stone is classified as pure.

Most diamonds are created with birthmarks known as inclusions or imperfections. The fewer there are the more light the diamond reflects and the more beautifully it shines. This, however, does not mean that a diamond with inclusions cannot be eye-clean.

Buying diamonds in jewellery can often be more economical, since you can easily choose eye-clean diamonds. For investment diamonds, however, a lower brightness is less suitable.

The clarity of the diamond can be influenced by two kinds of impurities or flaws. External impurities are found on the surface due to wear or damage during cutting. By contrast, internal impurities are located inside the stone and form during the creation process. There are 3 types of inclusions:

  • Black or dark spots (spots) - dark spots that occur in the carbon phase
  • Veils (clouds) - microscopic veil-like inclusions that weaken the brightness
  • Cracks (plumes or feathers) - molecular cracks in the composition of the carbon structure of the diamond. This is the most common type of inclusion.

Cut quality

The cut shape is the most important feature of a cut diamond. This is the only value-determining factor that is influenced by man, but it does influence the diamond’s brilliance the most. What is a diamond brilliance? The brilliance of a diamond refers to the amount of light reflected by a diamond. The amount of brilliance depends on the cut of the diamond. The cutting process is therefore the most important factor to determine the value when you want to buy diamonds.

The cut shape refers to the proportions of the parts of the cut diamond, the symmetry and the brilliance. When the pavilion of the diamond is too deep or too shallow, light will escape through the sides and the bottom of the gemstone.

In a well-cut diamond, almost all the light will pass through the crown. The size of the table varies depending on the cut shape and affects, among other things, the optical size of the diamond. The girdle is mainly responsible for strength and is described instead of graded like the rest of the cut. The bottom of the diamond, often a slightly honed point, is called the culet. This miniscule facet is often not visible to the naked eye and contributes to the brilliance.

Specs of a diamond - BAUNAT

The cut quality is determined depending on the cut shape. Other shapes than the standard round cut are called 'fancy shapes'. The best-known shapes are marquisepear shapeoval shapeheart shape and emeraldThe brilliant is the name for the round cut with 57 facets, the cut shape that sparkles most of all possible types.

Different diamond shapes - BAUNAT

Would you like to know more about how diamonds get their value? Are you interested in buying diamonds in any form? Watch this video from the HRD with more information about diamonds and certificates, or ask the diamond experts at BAUNAT for advice on your investment.

 

What are the most famous diamonds in the world?

Akbar Shah

an Indian diamond with a roughly pear-shaped outline and random faceting, including two Arabic inscriptions, the first reading "Shah Akbar, the Grand King, 1028 A.H." (The letters mean Anno Hegirae). The second inscription read "To the Lord of Two Worlds, 1039 A.H. Shah Jehan". The diamond was reportedly part of the original Peacock Throne. Purchased in 1886 in Istanbul by London merchant George Blogg, who re-cut it from 116 carats (23 g) to a pear-shape of 71.70 carats (14.34 g), thus destroying the historic inscriptions. Blogg was the last known owner and the stone's whereabouts are presently unknown.

Related information:

1. What is the royal history of diamonds?

2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

Allnatt Diamond

a 101.29-carat (20.26 g) antique cushion-shaped brilliant fancy vivid yellow diamond.

Related information:

1. What is the royal history of diamonds?

2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

 

Agra Diamond

antique cushion-shaped stellar brilliant, 28 carats (5.6 g).

Related information:

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2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

 

Amsterdam Diamond

a 33.74 carat (6.748 g) pear-shaped black diamond which sold for $352,000 in 2001.

Related information:

1. What is the royal history of diamonds?

2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

 

Archduke Joseph Diamond

antique cushion-shaped brilliant, originally weighing 78.54 carats (15.71 g), purchased by Molina Jewelers of Arizona sometime in the late-1990s and slightly re-cut to 76.45 carats (15.29 g) to improve clarity and symmetry. D color, Internally Flawless.

Related information:

1. What is the royal history of diamonds?

2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

 

Ashberg Diamond

102.48 carats (20.50 g).

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2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

 

Aurora Butterfly of Peace

a display of 240 fancy-colored diamonds.

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2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

 

Aurora Pyramid of Hope

a display of 296 diamonds of natural colors.

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2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

 

Beau Sancy

a 34-carat (6.8 g) diamond not to be confused with the Sancy.

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2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

 

Black Orlov

a 67.50-carat (13.50 g) cushion-cut black diamond, also called the Eye of Brahma Diamond.

Related information:

1. What is the royal history of diamonds?

2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

 

Blue Heart Diamond

30.82-carat (6.16 g) heart brilliant. Part of the Smithsonian collection.

Related information:

1. What is the royal history of diamonds?

2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

 

Briolette of India Diamond

90.38 carats (18.08 g) - possibly the oldest diamond on record.

Related information:

1. What is the royal history of diamonds?

2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

 

Centenary Diamond

273.85 carats (54.77 g), modified heart-shaped brilliant, the world's largest colorless (grade D), flawless diamond.

Related information:

1. What is the royal history of diamonds?

2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

 

Chloe Diamond

largest round brilliant-cut diamond ever put on auction. Sold on November 14, 2007 at Sotheby's in Geneva to Georges Marciano of the Guess clothing line for $16.2 million, the second-highest price ever paid for a diamond on auction. Took 2 years to cut.

Related information:

1. What is the royal history of diamonds?

2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

 

Cross of Asia

discovered in 1902 in South Africa as a 280-carat (56 g) crystal. At first diamond was cut to 142 carats (28 g), and next the cut was three times changed to 112 carats (22 g), a cushion-cut of 109.28 carats (the weight Lawrence Copeland's "Diamonds - Famous, Notable and Unique" lists it at) measuring 1? × ? × ? inches, and finally into a radiant-cut gem of 79.12 carats (15.82 g) to eliminate all flaws. It is Fancy Yellow and Internally Flawless.[1]

Related information:

1. What is the royal history of diamonds?

2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

 

Cullinan Diamond

the largest rough gem-quality diamond ever found at 3106.75 carats (621.35 g). It was cut into 105 diamonds including the Cullinan I or the Great Star of Africa, 530.2 carats (106.04 g), and the Cullinan II or the Lesser Star of Africa, 317.4 carats (63.48 g), both of which are now part of the British Crown Jewels.

Related information:

1. What is the royal history of diamonds?

2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

 

Cullinan Heritage diamond

set the record for the highest price ever paid for a rough diamond in February 2010 when it was sold for $35.3m (£23m) to a Hong Kong jeweller. Petra Diamonds mined the stone in 2009 at their Cullinan Diamond Mine (formerly the Premier Mine) in South Africa.[2]

Related information:

1. What is the royal history of diamonds?

2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

 

Darya-ye Noor Diamond

the largest pink diamond in the world, about 182 carats (36 g), part of Iranian Crown Jewels. Its exact weight isn't known and 186 carats (37 g) is an estimate.

Related information:

1. What is the royal history of diamonds?

2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

 

Deepdene

widely considered to be the largest artificially irradiated diamond in the world, at 104.52 carats (20.90 g).

Related information:

1. What is the royal history of diamonds?

2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

 

De Young Red Diamond

weighing 5.03 carats (1.01 g), the third-largest known red diamond, was bought in a flea market on a hatpin by Sidney deYoung a prominent Boston estate jewelry merchant. It was donated by him to the Smithsonian InstitutionNational Museum of Natural History.

Related information:

1. What is the royal history of diamonds?

2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

 

Dresden Green Diamond

41-carat (8.2 g) antique pear-shaped brilliant - its color is the result of natural irradiation

Related information:

1. What is the royal history of diamonds?

2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

 

Dresden White Diamond

47-carat (9.4 g) antique oval brilliant, near-colorless

Related information:

1. What is the royal history of diamonds?

2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

 

Dresden Yellow Diamond

38-carat (7.6 g) antique round cut

Related information:

1. What is the royal history of diamonds?

2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

 

Earth Star Diamond

a 111.59-carat (22.32 g) pear-shaped diamond with a strong coffee-like brown color.

Related information:

1. What is the royal history of diamonds?

2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

 

Eureka Diamond

the first diamond found in South Africa, a yellow-brown 21.25-carat (4.25 g) stone (before cutting) resulting in a finished diamond 10.73 carats (2.15 g)

Related information:

1. What is the royal history of diamonds?

2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

 

Empress Eugenie Diamond

52-carat (10 g) antique pear-shaped brilliant with an odd, random facet pattern

Related information:

1. What is the royal history of diamonds?

2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

 

Excelsior Diamond

the largest known diamond in the world prior to the Cullinan at 970 carats (190 g), it was later cut into 10 pieces of various sizes (13–68 carats)

Related information:

1. What is the royal history of diamonds?

2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

 

Florentine Diamond

a lost diamond, light yellow with a weight of 137.27 carats (27.45 g).

Related information:

1. What is the royal history of diamonds?

2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

 

Golden Eye Diamond

a world's largest, flawless, 'perfect-cut' Canary Yellow diamond (43.5 carats).

Related information:

1. What is the royal history of diamonds?

2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

 

Golden Jubilee Diamond

the largest faceted diamond ever cut at 545.67 carats (109.13 g)

Related information:

1. What is the royal history of diamonds?

2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

 

Graff Blue Diamond

 

Great Chrysanthemum Diamond

104.15 carats (20.83 g)

Related information:

1. What is the royal history of diamonds?

2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

 

Great Mogul Diamond

fabled 280-carat (56 g) mogul-cut diamond, now lost, although presumed by historians to have been re-cut as the Orlov.

Related information:

1. What is the royal history of diamonds?

2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

Gruosi Diamond

a heart-shaped black diamond, weighing 115.34 carats (23.07 g).

Related information:

1. What is the royal history of diamonds?

2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

 

Heart of Eternity Diamond

perhaps the largest fancy vivid blue, weighing 27.64 carats (5.53 g).

Related information:

1. What is the royal history of diamonds?

2. What is the romantic history of diamonds?

 

BAUNAT only offers 100% natural diamonds. This means no treated, artificial or clarity intensified diamonds.

BAUNAT only works together with the most renowned certificates of the diamond industry worldwide: GIA, HRD & IGI. 

BAUNAT NV has a zero-tolerance policy towards conflict diamonds. We only buy diamonds through the most respected diamond manufacturers.

The diamonds we select are high quality and offer the greatest brilliance in proportion to their cost.

We select the diamonds that sparkle to their maximum but pay no additional cost for prestige or rarity. Diamonds used by BAUNAT have a VS2 or SI1 score on the purity scale, and have a G or H colour. They also have an exceptional cut.

Diamonds with this result only have minor impurities that are impossible to see with the naked eye for a consumer.

Diamonds with this result have a very nice white colour without a yellow complexion.

1. Colour and clarity

BAUNAT offers 2 possible quality combinations:

G colour - VS2 clarity

H colour - SI1 clarity

Both combinations guarantee a diamond with a beautiful white colour without yellow complexion. VS2 diamonds contain inclusions that are not or hardly discernible to the naked eye. With SI1 diamonds, it is possible that inclusions can be very slightly discernible, but only under good conditions. In addition, all diamonds we select have a great shine because of their high score in terms of the quality of the cut.

The first combination (G-VS2) will be a little brighter than the second, because of the difference in colour and purity. The second combination can only be found in the jewellery category ‘Classics’ with a minimum of 0.30 ct diamonds.

2. Cut

In terms of the cut grade, we can distinguish different parameters, depending on the diamond shape:

a. Round diamonds

The cut can be divided in three parameters:

The Cut grade will always be awarded at least a 'VG' (Very Good) rating. On the parameters of Polish and Symmetry, in most cases you will receive at least 2 times VG or better. Please note that the above mentioned cut grade is the minimum; it can also be that you receive a higher quality (EX cut).

b. Other shapes (princess, oval, cushion, etc.)

All other diamond shapes (round diamonds excluded) have two parameters in terms of cut:

You will receive at least 1X VG 1xG, but in most cases 2xVG or better. Please note that the above mentioned Polish & Symmetry grade is the minimum; it can also be that you receive a higher quality (EX polish).

BAUNAT does not only select its diamonds based on the 4 C's you find on the diamond's certificate, but judges the quality of produced light. Because our headquarters are in the heart of the diamond world centre, we can carefully check every diamond. Ultimately we choose the diamonds based on the light they radiate. In other words, we only work with diamonds that shine better than the theoretical proprieties of their certificate (4 C's) would predict.

The combination of our know-how and methods and the fact that diamond industry prices are based on the 4 C's allow us to offer the best price-quality ratio. Only diamonds with a maximal shine will be chosen. A diamond's radiance results from the white light, the movement of light, and the coloured light it reflects.

Diamonds are placed in jewellery pieces in a specific way, so that the table (the top flat part of the diamond) is visible. The bottom part of the diamond, which ends in a cone, usually isn't visible. For instance, in a ring, the bottom part disappears inside the ring. This way, light only enters the diamond from the top of the stone. Because of the specific light refraction of diamonds and the mirror effect of the bottom sides, light will come back out the top of the diamond in all the colours of the rainbow. This process is only maximised if the diamond is cut perfectly, has perfect proportions and if all angles and sides were cut according to the mathematical model of 58 sides.

The diamond will only shine its best if the light is controlled. Otherwise, the light gets lost or disappears in another corner of the diamond.

The cutting process is of course a very difficult, risky and time-consuming process and requires years of expertise. Because all the diamond's growing nerves aren't visible, the work can't be computerised, and is always done by hand. Years of training are required.

Our jewels can carry any shape and size of diamonds: round, princess (square), pear (teardrop) and many others (on demand, see ‘TAILOR MADE’).

Related information:

1. More information on colour, clarity and cut

2. What are the 4C's?

3. Is a diamond a good investment? BAUNAT's expertise in D-E-F colour diamonds

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