I love world cultures! My curiosity over years has made me spend a lot of my time conducting self-studies on various cultures, their rituals, customs, and of course, jewelry. I hope you enjoy my curated list of Mughal jewelry and artifacts in this blog post!
I have tried my best to attribute images to their creators and original sources. Please contact me if you know the source of images that are not attributed.
Mughal emperors were lovers of precious stones, numerous references show the strong cultural belief in gemstone properties. The Timurids, ancestors of the Mughals, had begun the tradition of engraving titles and names on stones of outstanding quality and, along with diamonds and emeralds, large spinel beads were their favorite. As much as these gems were a symbol of the opulence and dignity of the empire, they were also treasured as protective talismans.
Emeralds were enormously popular with the Mughal Court, whose emperors referred to them as “Tears of the Moon” because of their opaque transparency.
The rulers of Mughal India often ordered their names and titles to be inscribed on rubies, emeralds and diamonds, a practice which originated in Iran under the Timurids (1370-1507). Some of these gems ended up in the collection of the Mughal emperors who continued the tradition. In some cases, as the gems were passed down further names were added below those of the previous owners. Many were repolished, recut and re-set as they were handed down. The inscriptions were executed using the traditional cutting wheel or diamond-tipped stylus.
Spinels (balas rubies) were highly prized in the Mughal court and were usually drilled as beads and used as pendant gemstones on necklaces, turban ornaments or earrings. Abu'l Fazl treasury historic records indicate a hierarchy of gems where spinels were listed in advance of diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds. They were admired for their colour which followed the Persian literary tradition of representing wine and the sun, evoking the light of dusk.
Tavernier reported that he counted 108 large balas rubies (spinels, it is believed) mounted on the famous Peacock Throne, all cabochon cut, the smallest weighing about 100 carats and some 200 carats or more.
In the past I have authored posts on jewelry history, such as , The Magnificent Maharajas Of India, Mystery & History Of Marquise Diamond Cut, Ór - Ireland's Gold, The Legendary Cullinan Diamond, Bejeweled Persia - Historic Jewelry From The Qajar Dynasty, some more. Being a curious artist that I am, over years I have spent countless hours in self-driven studies on jewelry history and in research. All good stuff, as I have accumulated a great deal of interesting knowledge, something that definitely informs my jewelry design and other artistic creations. I wrote these blogs for simple reasons - to share my collected knowledge with all who are interested so that more can benefit from it and for ease in accessibility. Take a look and enjoy!