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Ch. 47: The Great Sancy Diamond, The Sphinx of Diamonds

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260 THE GREAT DIAMONDS OF THE WORLD.
entangled in that of the "Florentine," elsewhere eluci­dated. Once separated from that connection, and from the Burgundian duke, to whom we shall see that it never belonged, its career, although still some­what obscure, becomes at least, consistent with facts, and on the whole, fairly intelligible.
The " Sancy" is described as almond-shaped, and originally facetted on both sides, a form and cut peculiar to India, and altogether unknown in Europe. We may therefore, take it for granted that it was not one of the stones manipulated by Louis de Berquem, for Duke Charles. On the other hand, its Indian origin harmonises with the statement made, amongst others, by Louis's descendant, Robert de Berquem that the gem was brought from the East by M. de Sanci, French Ambassador at the Ottoman Court, who purchased it for a large sum in Constan­tinople, apparently about the year 1570. This French gentleman. Nicholas Harlai, Seigneur de Sancy, was evidently a diamond fancier, as shown by the fact that he also in 1589, obtained another large stone from Don Antonio, the pretendant to the Portuguese crown, as security for an advance of ico.ooo livres, which was never repaid.
Nicholas was attached both to the Courts of Henry III. and Henry IV., having been ambassador for the former in Turkey, for the latter in England, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. According to two different versions, obviously of one event, he is stated to have advanced the " Sancy" to both monarchs, in order to enable them to borrow money on its security, for the purpose of enlisting a body of
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