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Antique Pieces Blog History & Heritage Legendary Pieces

The Maharajah of Indore Necklace

The "Spanish Inquisition" necklace
The “Spanish Inquisition” necklace

The Maharaja of Indore Necklace (also knowns as The Spanish Inquisition necklace) consists of two strands of antique-cut diamonds and emeralds to which a lower pendant and upper chain containing modern, brilliant-cut diamonds were added. It contains 374 diamonds and 15 emeralds. The emeralds came from Colombia, while the diamonds were obtained from India. The large, central barrel-shaped emerald weighs approximately 45 carats. Due to its color and exceptional clarity, it is one of the world’s finest emeralds. The stones were probably cut in India in the 17th century, making them some of the oldest cut gems in the National Gems Collection.

The necklace was purchased by the Maharajah of Indore in the early 20th century. it was given its name by Harry Winston, who purchased the necklace from the Maharajah’s son in 1948, thus becoming part of Winston’s “Court of Jewels” traveling exhibition, which included also the Hope Diamond and the Star of the East.

Cora Hubbard Williams of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, bought the necklace from Winston in 1955 and bequeathed it to the Smithsonian Institution in 1972.

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