Auctions Christie's High Jewellery History & Heritage

Passage to India

A landmark auction destined to make history. The fabled time of the Maharajas and the Mughal Court on the block at Christie's New York.

A landmark auction destined to make history. The fabled time of the Maharajas and the Mughal Court at Christie’s New York.

An unprecedented collection of Indian jewels from the Mughal era, together with Indo-European-style designs and contemporary XX century creations from the most celebrated high jewellery houses will drive the attention of experts, connoisseurs and collectors next 19th June at Christie’s New York.

The sale is titled Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence, and this is not a title given by accident.

Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence – A Collection of Extraordinary Treasures | Christie’s

This auction is set to go down in history by experts, connoisseurs and collectors alike, as it will offer almost 400 pieces from the illustrious Al Thani Collection.

Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence: AN ANTIQUE IMPERIAL SPINEL, PEARL AND EMERALD NECKLACE Seven tumbled spinel beads, pearls, pear-shaped cabochon emerald drop, gold, spinel beads from the 17th century, restrung at a later date SSEF, 2014, report no. 73623: 7 Spinels, Tajikistan, no indications of any treatment

Jewels that tell 500 years of goldsmith art and that testify of the Indian royal ruling families’ grandeur – the Maharajas and the Moghul Empire, that ruled India from 1526 to 1857.

The Indian culture, through these works of art, demonstrated to be able to speak to the West. A creative dialogue that gave life to jewels that embodies the best of these two worlds, by uniting exceptional gems to the styles of the most famous high jewellery Maisons of Place Vendôme, in Paris.

Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence: A CARVED EMERALD WITH TWO INTERCHANGEABLE EMERALD AND DIAMOND MOUNTINGS, CARTIER Interchangeable brooch set with a hexagonal carved emerald of 380.98 carats, reversible with one side depicting Lord Rama, his wife Sita and their loyal servant, the monkey god Hanuman, the reverse depicting a poppy blossom, circular-cut diamonds, platinum (French mark), emerald 19th century, signed MT Cartier. Brooch mounting, cabochon emerald drops, cushion-shaped carved emerald, circular-cut diamonds, platinum and 18k white gold (French marks), 2012, signed MT Cartier.

Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence: A DIAMOND AND EMERALD BEAD BROOCH, BHAGAT Pear and circular-shaped rose-cut diamonds, circular-cut diamonds, drop-shaped emerald bead of 20.03 carats, platinum, 2014, signed Bhagat
Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence: A DIAMOND, CACHOLONG, SAPPHIRE AND TITANIUM BROOCH, JAR Designed as an elephant wearing an aigrette, titanium, modified pear brilliant-cut diamond of 2.32 carats, single-cut diamonds, oval cabochon sapphires, tusk-shaped white cacholong, blackened gold and platinum (French marks), 2013, signed JAR, Paris, pink JAR case.

This is living history in our hands

Rahul Kadakia, Christie’s International Head of Jewellery

This is history that was born both thanks to the natural richness of the earth, which gifted men with the purest and most richly saturated gems, and to the role that jewellery had in the Mughal tradition – a fundamental one, to impress with power and wealth by boosting political influence.

In the words of François Curiel, Chairman, Christie’s Europe:

“This landmark collection traces the history of Mughal jewels and objects to present day and represents the most significant collection of its type ever to come to auction. This project is a true partnership between our market-leading Jewellery department, led by Rahul Kadakia, and World Art department, led by William Robinson, along with independent art advisory firm The Fine Art Group. The collection begins in Mughal India, the most important dynasty that ruled the country, famous for its emeralds, diamonds, sapphires, rubies, jewelled weapons and objects that are bejewelled beyond belief. From exceptional daggers worn by the elite Nobles and Royal families of India to important jewels inspired by Indian tradition and architecture, the auction of this notable collection presents a truly significant cultural moment and offers a milestone opportunity for collectors.” 

The jewels from the Al Thani Collection which will be offered by Christie’s New York communicate grandeur.

They are objects of art to celebrate the highest moments in the rulers’ life, such as writing, as noble as the most artistic calligraphy and the prestige of ruling itself.

Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence: AN EMERALD, RUBY AND DIAMOND SET GOLD STATE PEN CASE AND INKWELL (DAVAT-I DAWLAT) DECCAN, CENTRAL INDIA, LATE 16TH CENTURY A sacred bird (hamsa) engraved under the inkwell

There are also important and incredible gems, such as the diamonds sourced in the fabled Golconda mines (today extinct and the very first ones discovered by man) which gave back the purest of crystals. Or the superb sapphires from Burma, and the Colombian emeralds which reached India through the commercial routes via Portugal.

Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence: ‘THE PINK GOLCONDA DIAMOND’ A COLORED DIAMOND AND DIAMOND RING, JAR Oval brilliant-cut light pink diamond of 10.46 carats, single-cut diamonds, blackened gold, ring size 4 ½, signed JAR, Paris, pink JAR case GIA, 2019, report no. 2115073049: 10.46 carats, Light Pink, natural color, VVS1 clarity, potentially Internally Flawless, Type IIa Gübelin, 2009, report no. 0909069: 10.46 carats, Light Orangy-Pink, natural color, Internally Flawless, Type IIa, appendix and ‘Golconda’ letter.
Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence: AN ANTIQUE DIAMOND RIVIÈRE NECKLACE Thirty-three graduated old-cut diamonds, the seven central diamonds weighing (from left to right) 10.03, 10.93, 19.19, 24.38, 17.52, 12.28, and 9.90 carats, gold and silver, 15 ins., late 19th century
AN ART DECO EMERALD, SAPPHIRE AND DIAMOND BELT BUCKLE-BROOCH, CARTIER Octagonal step-cut emerald of 38.71 carats, buff-top calibré-cut sapphires and emeralds, old and single-cut diamonds, platinum and 18k white gold (French marks), 1922, unsigned, partial maker’s mark (Atelier Renault), no. 0346, red Cartier case Cartier, 2004: Certificate of Authenticity.
Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence: ‘MIRROR OF PARADISE’ A DIAMOND RING Rectangular-cut diamond of 52.58 carats, tapered baguette-cut diamonds, platinum, ring size 7 ¼ GIA, 2019, report no. 1132889310: 52.58 carats, D color, Internally Flawless clarity, Type IIa Gübelin, 2013, report no. 13090169: 52.58 carats, D color, Internally Flawless clarity, Type IIa, appendix and ‘Golconda’ letter
Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence: AN ART DECO SAPPHIRE AND DIAMOND BROOCH Cushion modified mixed-cut sapphire of 109.50 carats, circular, single and baguette-cut diamonds, platinum, 2 ¾ ins., circa 1920 AGL, 2019, report no. 1100319: 109.50 carats, Classic Ceylon, no gemological evidence of heat or clarity enhancement Gübelin, 2013, report no. 13050015: 109.50 carats, Sri Lanka, no indications of heating

The importance of this collection lies, if we listen to experts and collectors, in exemplifying the extent of Indian royal courts’ sophisticated and refined artistic production, from the XVIIth century onwards, to perfection.

These are treasures that include delicate jades, vivid emeralds, opulent jewels and imposing royal portraits. Together with them, precious artistic objects which demonstrate the elaborate technique of enamelling – that started at the Mughal Court and which spread across all the sub-continent, flourishing in ateliers that produced wonderful artefacts personifying the rulers’ power and wealth.

Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence: AN ANTIQUE DIAMOND AND ENAMEL PEACOCK AIGRETTE, MELLERIO DITS MELLER Rose-cut diamonds, blue, green, yellow and golden brown enamel, 18k gold (French marks), 7 ins., 1905, signed Mellerio dit Meller, ‘9 Rue de la Paix, Paris’ Provenance Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala and Anita Delgado

Belonging to the Al Thani Collection, these 400 lots will generate sale proceeds which will go to sustain the Al Thani Foundation’s cultural initiatives, and to allow this majestic collection, which includes almost 6,000 pieces, to find its home at the Hôtel de la Marine, in Paris, from 2020. CC

Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence: A BELLE ÉPOQUE DIAMOND JIGHA The turban ornament set with old, baguette and pear-shaped diamonds, white gold, fitted with plume holder on the reverse, lower portion detachable and may be worn as a brooch, 1907 and remodelled circa 1935

0 comments on “Passage to India

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: