At No. 2 of the World's Most Expensive Diamonds is the Sancy Diamond, a gem so valuable that its monetry value is un-estimated. A beautiful pale yellow diamond of 55.23 carats (11.05 grams), the cut of the diamond is unorthodox by Western standards, and is thought to have been of Indian origin, discovered in the 1400s in the Golconda region.
The stone comprises two back to back crowns ( a cut expected in a regular cut diamond) yet has no pavilion (the lower portion of a stone below it's mid section).
The Sancy's known history began in 1570 and belonged to Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy. In 1495, the stone passed to Charles' cousin, King Manuel I of Portugal after Charles' death. D. Antonio, Prior of Crato fled Portugal with the bulk of the country's Crown Jewels after the threat of Spanish rule and was said to have sold the diamond to Nicolas de Harlay, Seigneur de Sancy.
Henry III and Henry IV of France borrowed the diamond, the later king to secure finance for his armies. Legend has it that a messenger carrying the jewel never reached his destination, but de Sancy (by then Superintendent of Finance) was convinced the man was loyal, had a search conducted until the site of the messenger's robbery and murder was found. When the body was disinterred, the jewel was found in the messenger's stomach.
The Sancy diamond was later sold to James I in 1605. This is when it's thought the diamond was given its current name. The diamond remained in England until 1669, owned briefly by Charles I, and then passed to his third son, James II. This king who became destitute, sold the Sancy to Cardinal Mazarin of France who bequeathed the diamond to the King.
The whereabouts of the Sancy is unknown after the French revolution until 1828 when it was purchased by Prince Demidoff. It remained in his family until 1865, when it was sold to Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy. He sold it a year later and again it's whereabouts was a mystery until it reappeared in 1867 at the Paris Exposition. The Sancy was purchased in 1906 by William Waldorf Astor, who then sold it to the Louvre in 1978.
The Sancy Diamond now rests in the Apollo Gallery, after a very tumultuous history. It remains one of the most beautiful and coveted diamonds in the world.