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Henry III of France was bald, even when a youth. To draw attention away horn this embarrassment he depended upon a glittering stone, too vapid a person to realize that you cannot conceal something by pointing in its direction. This man, this human equation ot what Sainte-Beuve calls "dull and profound corruption," featured in the most unwhole­some chapter in the long and glamorous story of a beautiful diamond: the Sancy. When you hear people speak of a dia­mond as a thing of mystery, romance, adventure, blood­shed, tragedy, you must think of the Sancy, for its history embodied all these things, as has no other gem known.
This stone has both positively authenticated history and doubtful legend behind it. The legend goes back centuries and the truth begins, sardonically enough, with the reign of Henry, who was a liar and a cheat. The stone's early his­tory is a thing of conjecture. Gem authority Robert M. Shipley sets the background this way:
From the days that legend tells us Fugger, the Nuremberg "banker, secured the diamond with other Ducal jewels from the Bernese government, to the day when poor James Stuart, exiled King of England, parted with it to Louis XIV, the Sancy was invaluable as a money raiser. Henry III, Henry IV, and the Stuart Kings of England profited by the possession of the stone, to say nothing of Sancy himself. . . . But when you speak of the rest. . . . The Sancy diamond has had a most confusing history owing to the legend that it was one of the great diamonds lost by Charles of Burgundy after his defeat at Nancy or Granson. Its history is well confused with that of the Florentine. Authorities are now in perfect agreement that the Sancy was never in the possession of the Duke of Burgundy, but the story still lingers on in newspapers, magazines