Cardinal Mazarin was an avid collector of art and jewelry. When he died in 1661 he left 18 diamonds to the Crown as a dation in payment that allowed him to pass on the rest of his huge inheritance to his family. This group includes the Sancy which was considered as the most beautiful diamond known in Europe until the discovery of the Régent.
At that time all the major diamonds had been extracted from Golconda mines. It was not until 1725 that a Brazilian source came to compete with that Indian provenance.
Note that the Beau Sancy which adorned the crown of the coronation of Marie de Médicis was a personal gift to her by King Henri IV and was not inalienable. It left France in 1641 and was sold for CHF 9M including premium by Sotheby's on May 15, 2012.
On November 14 in Geneva, Christie's sells as lot 600 Le Grand Mazarin which had been a major piece of the cardinal's bequest. Analyzed by the GIA before the auction, this brilliant cut diamond weighing 19.07 carats is of type IIa. Its VS2 clarity is sensational for a historic diamond. Its light pink color is extremely rare.
Le Grand Mazarin was worn by Queen Marie-Thérèse wife of Louis XIV, then by King Louis XIV himself in a chain and later by Empress Marie-Louise wife of Napoléon I in a diadem made by Nitot.
Please watch the video shared by Christie's and read the instructive featured post that accompanies it.
SOLD for CHF 12.5M before fees