Splendors of Mughal India

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.

One of the most treasured jewel in Indian history: The Taj Mahal Emerald. Circa 1630-1650. A hexagonal-cut emerald, weighing approximately 141.13 carats, it is carved with stylized chrysanthemum, lotus and Mughal poppy flowers, within asymmetrical foliage, to the plain reverse and beveled border. This intricately carved stone is one of a small group of exquisite emeralds commissioned by the Mughal Court, possibly during the reign of Emperor Shah Jahan. The name of the emerald is derived from its intricately carved surface of lotus, poppy flowers, and other foliage that mirrors the decoration of the Taj Mahal. At the Paris Exhibition of 1925, 'The Taj Mahal Emerald' was one of three large Mughal emeralds that featured prominently in Cartier’s Collier Bérénice, a spectacular shoulder ornament that also boasted pearls, diamonds, and black enamel.

One of the most treasured jewel in Indian history: The Taj Mahal Emerald. Circa 1630-1650. A hexagonal-cut emerald, weighing approximately 141.13 carats, it is carved with stylized chrysanthemum, lotus and Mughal poppy flowers, within asymmetrical foliage, to the plain reverse and beveled border. This intricately carved stone is one of a small group of exquisite emeralds commissioned by the Mughal Court, possibly during the reign of Emperor Shah Jahan. The name of the emerald is derived from its intricately carved surface of lotus, poppy flowers, and other foliage that mirrors the decoration of the Taj Mahal. At the Paris Exhibition of 1925, 'The Taj Mahal Emerald' was one of three large Mughal emeralds that featured prominently in Cartier’s Collier Bérénice, a spectacular shoulder ornament that also boasted pearls, diamonds, and black enamel.

The Taj Mahal Emerald, Cartier. Hexagonal-shaped carved tablet emerald of 141.13 carats, circular-cut diamonds, platinum and 18k white gold. Mount by Cartier. Image: Christie’s

The Taj Mahal Emerald, Cartier. Hexagonal-shaped carved tablet emerald of 141.13 carats, circular-cut diamonds, platinum and 18k white gold. Mount by Cartier. Image: Christie’s

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.

The rectangular-cut emerald known as 'The Mogul Mughal' weighing 217.80 carats. It's a magnificent emerald with a great back story! Carved emerald with a Shi`ite invocation; Mughal or Deccani, 1695-1696.  The reverse carved all over with foliate decoration, the central rosette flanked by single large poppy flowers, with a line of three smaller poppy flowers either side, the bevelled edges carved with cross pattern incisions and herringbone decoration, each of the four sides drilled for attachments, 2 1/16 x 1 9/16 x 7/16 in. (5.2 x 4x 1.2 cm.) Originally mined in Colombia, it was sold in India, where emeralds were much desired by the rulers of the Mughal Empire.

The rectangular-cut emerald known as 'The Mogul Mughal' weighing 217.80 carats. It's a magnificent emerald with a great back story! Carved emerald with a Shi`ite invocation; Mughal or Deccani, 1695-1696. The reverse carved all over with foliate decoration, the central rosette flanked by single large poppy flowers, with a line of three smaller poppy flowers either side, the bevelled edges carved with cross pattern incisions and herringbone decoration, each of the four sides drilled for attachments, 2 1/16 x 1 9/16 x 7/16 in. (5.2 x 4x 1.2 cm.) Originally mined in Colombia, it was sold in India, where emeralds were much desired by the rulers of the Mughal Empire.

The Shah Jahan Emerald.    North India or Deccan, dated AH 1031 (1621–22) Inscribed in Persian: Shihab al-din Muhammad Shah Jahan Padshah Ghazi 1031 (“Shihab al-din Muhammad Shah Jahan Ghazi Emperor 1031”). Usually adorned with pious formulas, Koranic verses or mystical sayings, emeralds – unlike spinels or balas rubies often inscribed with royal titles – were rarely engraved with the names of the sovereigns who owned them, hence the singularity of this cabochon-cut emerald bearing the name of Shah Jahan.   Image courtesy: Al Thani Collection

The Shah Jahan Emerald.

North India or Deccan, dated AH 1031 (1621–22)
Inscribed in Persian: Shihab al-din Muhammad Shah Jahan Padshah Ghazi 1031 (“Shihab al-din Muhammad Shah Jahan Ghazi Emperor 1031”). Usually adorned with pious formulas, Koranic verses or mystical sayings, emeralds – unlike spinels or balas rubies often inscribed with royal titles – were rarely engraved with the names of the sovereigns who owned them, hence the singularity of this cabochon-cut emerald bearing the name of Shah Jahan.
Image courtesy: Al Thani Collection

Ring. India, sixteenth century. Emerald, with gold sleeve. Image courtesy: Al Thani Collection

Ring. India, sixteenth century. Emerald, with gold sleeve. Image courtesy: Al Thani Collection

An emerald, diamond and seed pearl necklace, Colombian emeralds, mid- to late-19th century. Image: Christie’s

An emerald, diamond and seed pearl necklace, Colombian emeralds, mid- to late-19th century. Image: Christie’s

The Arcot II Diamond. Pear brilliant-cut diamond of 17.21 carats. The Arcot Diamond, a D-colour stone was one of two such diamond ear drops sent as gifts to Queen Charlotte (1744-1818), the wife of King George III, from the Nawab of Arcot. The diamonds were later acquired at auction by the Marquess of Westminster and subsequently mounted in the Westminster Tiara, which was worn at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Image: Christie’s

The Arcot II Diamond. Pear brilliant-cut diamond of 17.21 carats. The Arcot Diamond, a D-colour stone was one of two such diamond ear drops sent as gifts to Queen Charlotte (1744-1818), the wife of King George III, from the Nawab of Arcot. The diamonds were later acquired at auction by the Marquess of Westminster and subsequently mounted in the Westminster Tiara, which was worn at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Image: Christie’s

The Nizam of Hyderabad Necklace. Diamond, emerald and enamel necklace. Modified triangular-shaped table-cut diamonds, variously-shaped faceted and rose-cut diamonds, carved emerald bead, green enamel, foil, gold, engraved on the reverse with foliate motif, 16 in, late 19th century. Image: Unknown

The Nizam of Hyderabad Necklace. Diamond, emerald and enamel necklace. Modified triangular-shaped table-cut diamonds, variously-shaped faceted and rose-cut diamonds, carved emerald bead, green enamel, foil, gold, engraved on the reverse with foliate motif, 16 in, late 19th century. Image: Unknown

An enamelled and gem set model of a parrot, Hyderabad, Deccan, circa 1775-1825. Set with diamonds, rubies and emeralds and with a pendant emerald hanging from its beak, on a stand similarly decorated, base decorated with two central flowers in green and white enamel and four leaves in each corner. Image: Christie’s

An enamelled and gem set model of a parrot, Hyderabad, Deccan, circa 1775-1825. Set with diamonds, rubies and emeralds and with a pendant emerald hanging from its beak, on a stand similarly decorated, base decorated with two central flowers in green and white enamel and four leaves in each corner. Image: Christie’s

This carved flat emerald is set in a platinum, gold, and diamond pendant necklace. The emerald was discovered in Colombia, possibly by Spanish conquistadors, and found its way to India for cutting. Smithsonian, photography by Ken Larsen.

This carved flat emerald is set in a platinum, gold, and diamond pendant necklace. The emerald was discovered in Colombia, possibly by Spanish conquistadors, and found its way to India for cutting. Smithsonian, photography by Ken Larsen.

Historic and remarkable Mughal Emerald necklace. Small drill holes in the sides of the emerald, possibly used to attach the stone to a cloak or turban, also are consistent with a Mogul origin. The emerald is surrounded by round diamonds and is suspended from a double row diamond necklace; the diamonds total approximately 50 carats. A hallmark indicates that the Mogul emerald was set into the pendant and necklace in France around the turn of the 20th century. Smithsonian, photography by Ken Larsen.

Historic and remarkable Mughal Emerald necklace. Small drill holes in the sides of the emerald, possibly used to attach the stone to a cloak or turban, also are consistent with a Mogul origin. The emerald is surrounded by round diamonds and is suspended from a double row diamond necklace; the diamonds total approximately 50 carats. A hallmark indicates that the Mogul emerald was set into the pendant and necklace in France around the turn of the 20th century. Smithsonian, photography by Ken Larsen.

The carved emerald dates from the late-17th to early-18th century, and was set within the elegant and understated mounting by Cartier in the 1920s. Photo: Sotheby's

The carved emerald dates from the late-17th to early-18th century, and was set within the elegant and understated mounting by Cartier in the 1920s. Photo: Sotheby's

Marjorie Merriweather Post’s platinum brooch from the 1920s, featuring a spectacular 60-ct. carved Mughal emerald surrounded by diamonds.

Marjorie Merriweather Post’s platinum brooch from the 1920s, featuring a spectacular 60-ct. carved Mughal emerald surrounded by diamonds.

An inscribed Mughal emerald personal seal set in a diamond encrusted gold bangle and bearing the name of Major Alexander Hannay, an East India Company officer. Photo Bonhams

An inscribed Mughal emerald personal seal set in a diamond encrusted gold bangle and bearing the name of Major Alexander Hannay, an East India Company officer. Photo Bonhams

Mughal emerald and diamond sarpech. Mid-18th century. 78 emeralds are of Colombian origin. Photo: Christie's

Mughal emerald and diamond sarpech. Mid-18th century. 78 emeralds are of Colombian origin. Photo: Christie's

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.

A 128.10 carat inscribed Mughal Spinel Bead. Engraved 'Jahangir Shah Akbar Shah', dated 'AH 1018/1609-10 AD', and 'Shah Jahan, Jahangir Shah', dated 'AH 1049/1639-40 AD', to the fabric torsade necklace. Jahangir was a great connoisseur of gems. He was described by a contemporary English visitor, the Rev. Edward Terry, as ‘the greatest and richest master of precious stones that inhabits the whole Earth’. His passion for gems was continued by his son, Shah Jahan. The origin of the spinel is Tajikistan, with no indications of heating. Together with the historical context of such spinels, this jewel can be considered a true treasure of nature. Image: Christie's (2016)

A 128.10 carat inscribed Mughal Spinel Bead. Engraved 'Jahangir Shah Akbar Shah', dated 'AH 1018/1609-10 AD', and 'Shah Jahan, Jahangir Shah', dated 'AH 1049/1639-40 AD', to the fabric torsade necklace. Jahangir was a great connoisseur of gems. He was described by a contemporary English visitor, the Rev. Edward Terry, as ‘the greatest and richest master of precious stones that inhabits the whole Earth’. His passion for gems was continued by his son, Shah Jahan. The origin of the spinel is Tajikistan, with no indications of heating. Together with the historical context of such spinels, this jewel can be considered a true treasure of nature. Image: Christie's (2016)

An Imperial Mughal spinel necklace with eleven polished baroque spinels for a total weight of 1,131.59 carats. Three of the spinels are engraved. Two with the name of Emperor Jahangir (1569-1627), one with the three names of Emperor Jahangir, Emperor Shah Jahan and Emperor Alamgir, also known as Aurangzeb.

An Imperial Mughal spinel necklace with eleven polished baroque spinels for a total weight of 1,131.59 carats. Three of the spinels are engraved. Two with the name of Emperor Jahangir (1569-1627), one with the three names of Emperor Jahangir, Emperor Shah Jahan and Emperor Alamgir, also known as Aurangzeb.

Inscribed royal spinel (balas ruby) weighing 249.3 carats. This majestic stone is inscribed with the names of its six imperial owners and has the distinction of having the second-most number of such inscriptions. It was a gift from the Safavid Shah Abbas the Great of Iran to the Mughal emperor Jahangir in 1621. Image courtesy of © The Al-Sabah Collection.    Rulers mentioned in inscriptions: 1. Timurid, Ulugh Beg (before 1449) 2. Safavid, Shah Abbas I (1617) 3. Mughal, Jahangir (1621) 4. Mughal, Shah Jahan (undated) 5. Mughal, Alamgir (Aurangzeb) (1659 – 1660) 6. Durrani, Ahmad Shah (1754 – 1755)

Inscribed royal spinel (balas ruby) weighing 249.3 carats. This majestic stone is inscribed with the names of its six imperial owners and has the distinction of having the second-most number of such inscriptions. It was a gift from the Safavid Shah Abbas the Great of Iran to the Mughal emperor Jahangir in 1621. Image courtesy of © The Al-Sabah Collection.

Rulers mentioned in inscriptions:
1. Timurid, Ulugh Beg (before 1449)
2. Safavid, Shah Abbas I (1617)
3. Mughal, Jahangir (1621)
4. Mughal, Shah Jahan (undated)
5. Mughal, Alamgir (Aurangzeb) (1659 – 1660)
6. Durrani, Ahmad Shah (1754 – 1755)

Detail: Inscription on an Imperial Mughal spinel necklace. These spinels mainly originated from the Badakhshan mine, in the 'Pamir' region (on the frontier between Afghanistan and Tajikistan). This province gave its derived name to spinels, described as 'Balas rubies' for decades.

Detail: Inscription on an Imperial Mughal spinel necklace. These spinels mainly originated from the Badakhshan mine, in the 'Pamir' region (on the frontier between Afghanistan and Tajikistan). This province gave its derived name to spinels, described as 'Balas rubies' for decades.

Ring with Shah Jahan’s Spinel    North India, the spinel dated AH 1053 (AD 1643– 44); the ring, c. 1900Gold with enamel, the spinel inscribed in Persian: Sahib qiran-i thani (“Second Lord of the Auspicious Conjunction”)    Dating from 1643, this spinel is engraved on the reverse “Sahib qiran-I thani” which translates as “Second Lord of the Auspicious Conjunction”, the title of Emperor Shah Jahan who ruled 1628 - 1658. The title was chosen by Shah Jahan himself in reference to Timur (Tamerlane), the Mughals’ dynastic ancestor, who bore the title “Lord of the Auspicious Conjunction”. It is most likely that the engraving on the spinel was also the sovereign’s personal seal. Image courtesy: © The Al Thani Collection

Ring with Shah Jahan’s Spinel

North India, the spinel dated AH 1053 (AD 1643– 44); the ring, c. 1900Gold with enamel, the spinel inscribed in Persian: Sahib qiran-i thani (“Second Lord of the Auspicious Conjunction”)

Dating from 1643, this spinel is engraved on the reverse “Sahib qiran-I thani” which translates as “Second Lord of the Auspicious Conjunction”, the title of Emperor Shah Jahan who ruled 1628 - 1658. The title was chosen by Shah Jahan himself in reference to Timur (Tamerlane), the Mughals’ dynastic ancestor, who bore the title “Lord of the Auspicious Conjunction”. It is most likely that the engraving on the spinel was also the sovereign’s personal seal. Image courtesy: © The Al Thani Collection

The Taj Mahal Diamond [circa 1621] - a diamond with extraordinary provenance! Owned by Jahangir, ruler of Mughal India and father of Shah Jahan who built the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal diamond was gifted by Richard Burton to Elizabeth Taylor for her 40th birthday. Diamond is inscribed in Arabic on either side.

The Taj Mahal Diamond [circa 1621] - a diamond with extraordinary provenance! Owned by Jahangir, ruler of Mughal India and father of Shah Jahan who built the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal diamond was gifted by Richard Burton to Elizabeth Taylor for her 40th birthday. Diamond is inscribed in Arabic on either side.

Legendary Taj Mahal Diamond. I was fortunate to privately view and hold this diamond in the palm of my hand at Christie's New York in December 2011. It's an incredibly piece of diamond history.

Legendary Taj Mahal Diamond. I was fortunate to privately view and hold this diamond in the palm of my hand at Christie's New York in December 2011. It's an incredibly piece of diamond history.

Rare image of Mughal Coins. Mughal emperors. Photo: The David Collection

Rare image of Mughal Coins. Mughal emperors. Photo: The David Collection

The powder flask was an essential firearm accessory and held the fine powder needed to make the gun fire. Gunmakers in India during the Mughal era (1526-1858) specialized in carving ivory powder flasks with animal figures. Often, as this example, the decoration consists of intertwined and composite creatures that seem to grow out of or attack one another. 18th century. Note: International trade in ivory is banned (The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

The powder flask was an essential firearm accessory and held the fine powder needed to make the gun fire. Gunmakers in India during the Mughal era (1526-1858) specialized in carving ivory powder flasks with animal figures. Often, as this example, the decoration consists of intertwined and composite creatures that seem to grow out of or attack one another. 18th century. Note: International trade in ivory is banned (The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

An unusual ivory Archer's Ring in the form of a Falcon probably Mughal, 18th Century formed by a three dimensional bird with ruby-set eyes and folded wings. Photo: Bonhams.

An unusual ivory Archer's Ring in the form of a Falcon probably Mughal, 18th Century formed by a three dimensional bird with ruby-set eyes and folded wings. Photo: Bonhams.

A rare Mughal archers thumb-ring of hippo ivory, India, 17th/18th Century. Sotheby's

A rare Mughal archers thumb-ring of hippo ivory, India, 17th/18th Century. Sotheby's

Jade archer's thumb-ring. Mughal dynasty, 17th century AD. India. British Museum

Jade archer's thumb-ring. Mughal dynasty, 17th century AD. India. British Museum

1650. Thumb rings of this type were originally used in archery as a way of releasing the bow-string accurately without injuring the hand. Thumb rings made with precious materials became objects of royal status in the Mughal courts of India. Photo: V&A

1650. Thumb rings of this type were originally used in archery as a way of releasing the bow-string accurately without injuring the hand. Thumb rings made with precious materials became objects of royal status in the Mughal courts of India. Photo: V&A

Dress archery ring of Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan. Second quarter of the 17th century. Gold set with carved and polished uncut diamonds, rubies and emeralds. Photo: State Hermitage Museum.

Dress archery ring of Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan. Second quarter of the 17th century. Gold set with carved and polished uncut diamonds, rubies and emeralds. Photo: State Hermitage Museum.

A Mughal carved emerald flask with stopper, India, circa 18th century. The body of faceted hexagonal form, cut and carved on each face with a floral stem, the stopper carved with eight stylised leaves and a star design to the top. Sotheby's

A Mughal carved emerald flask with stopper, India, circa 18th century. The body of faceted hexagonal form, cut and carved on each face with a floral stem, the stopper carved with eight stylised leaves and a star design to the top. Sotheby's

Mango-shaped scent bottle Mid-17th century Rock crystal with rubies and emeralds set in gold. Mughal India. Image: Asia Society

Mango-shaped scent bottle Mid-17th century Rock crystal with rubies and emeralds set in gold. Mughal India. Image: Asia Society

Mango-Shaped Flask, mid-17th century India Rock crystal, gold and gemstone inlay. Photo: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Mango-Shaped Flask, mid-17th century India Rock crystal, gold and gemstone inlay. Photo: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Mango-shaped container, rock crystal, inlaid with gold and rubies. India, Mughal; 17th century. The princes of the Mughal dynasty had a special love for semi-precious stones like jade and rock crystal, and their artists achieved a very high degree of perfection in carving objects such as dagger hilts, bowls, and rings from these materials. Grooves cut into the materials could then be inlaid with gemstones and gold. Photo: The David Collection

Mango-shaped container, rock crystal, inlaid with gold and rubies. India, Mughal; 17th century. The princes of the Mughal dynasty had a special love for semi-precious stones like jade and rock crystal, and their artists achieved a very high degree of perfection in carving objects such as dagger hilts, bowls, and rings from these materials. Grooves cut into the materials could then be inlaid with gemstones and gold. Photo: The David Collection

Holding ‪Mughal‬ history in my hand at the Natural History Museum, London! A rare private viewing from the vaults of NHM of a 31-ct., faceted 'rose cut' ‪#‎sapphire‬ in a Quartz 'rock crystal' button inlaid with gold, rubies, emeralds. Purchased by Sir Hans Sloane for £43 (!), late 17th century. Image credit: Taken by Reena Ahluwalia at the Natural History Museum, London. 2016

Holding ‪Mughal‬ history in my hand at the Natural History Museum, London! A rare private viewing from the vaults of NHM of a 31-ct., faceted 'rose cut' ‪#‎sapphire‬ in a Quartz 'rock crystal' button inlaid with gold, rubies, emeralds. Purchased by Sir Hans Sloane for £43 (!), late 17th century. Image credit: Taken by Reena Ahluwalia at the Natural History Museum, London. 2016

Crown of the Emperor Bahadur Shah II (the last Mughal emperor). 1850. Gold, turquoises, rubies, diamonds, pearls, emeralds, feathers and velvet. The Royal Collection©

Crown of the Emperor Bahadur Shah II (the last Mughal emperor). 1850. Gold, turquoises, rubies, diamonds, pearls, emeralds, feathers and velvet. The Royal Collection©

Carved emerald circular box. Mughal India circa 1635. An identical cypress is carved on each panel. Similar boxes made of various precious materials appear in Indian miniatures from the early 17th century on. They could have been for medicines (including opium, a Mughal panacea) or to hold even more precious objects, such as uncut diamonds.

Carved emerald circular box. Mughal India circa 1635. An identical cypress is carved on each panel. Similar boxes made of various precious materials appear in Indian miniatures from the early 17th century on. They could have been for medicines (including opium, a Mughal panacea) or to hold even more precious objects, such as uncut diamonds.

A Mughal gem-set silver and gold rosewater sprinkler. North India, , 17th/18th century. Photo: Christie's

A Mughal gem-set silver and gold rosewater sprinkler. North India, , 17th/18th century. Photo: Christie's

An Indian gem-set gilt-metal casket with bird-head finial. Mughal, India. Photo: Sotheby's

An Indian gem-set gilt-metal casket with bird-head finial. Mughal, India. Photo: Sotheby's

A Mughal-style gemstone-encrusted white jade scent bottle. 18th/19th century. Of flattened circular shape on a short oval foot, the cylindrical neck fitted with a screw-top cover with a knop finial, the body inlaid in gold and inset with gem stones including diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds, depicting two panels on the front and back enclosing birds and blossoming branches, the sides with further blossoms.

A Mughal-style gemstone-encrusted white jade scent bottle. 18th/19th century. Of flattened circular shape on a short oval foot, the cylindrical neck fitted with a screw-top cover with a knop finial, the body inlaid in gold and inset with gem stones including diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds, depicting two panels on the front and back enclosing birds and blossoming branches, the sides with further blossoms.

Highly detailed plate. 17th century, Mughal India. Gold, kundan setting technique, uncut diamonds, rubies, emeralds and enamel. Presented by the ambassadorial mission of Iranian ruler Nadir-Shah to the Russian Imperial Court, 1741. Photo: State Hermitage Museum.

Highly detailed plate. 17th century, Mughal India. Gold, kundan setting technique, uncut diamonds, rubies, emeralds and enamel. Presented by the ambassadorial mission of Iranian ruler Nadir-Shah to the Russian Imperial Court, 1741. Photo: State Hermitage Museum.

A diamond-inset and enamelled bowl and stand. Deccan or Mughal India, late 18th century. Photo: Christie's

A diamond-inset and enamelled bowl and stand. Deccan or Mughal India, late 18th century. Photo: Christie's

D ish, colorless glass, decorated with enamel and gilded. India, Mughal; c. 1700. The flowers on the dish were contoured on the inside with gold and filled in with red and yellow enamel, while the outside was painted solely in yellow. This produces a kind of three-dimensional effect that is characteristic of Mughal glass art with painted decoration. Photo: The David Collection

Dish, colorless glass, decorated with enamel and gilded. India, Mughal; c. 1700. The flowers on the dish were contoured on the inside with gold and filled in with red and yellow enamel, while the outside was painted solely in yellow. This produces a kind of three-dimensional effect that is characteristic of Mughal glass art with painted decoration. Photo: The David Collection

Turban ornament. 1700-1750. Wearing plumes in a turban indicated royal status in Mughal India. Nephrite jade, gold inset with rubies, emeralds, probably topaz, with gold foil, rock crystal and pearl. Photo: V&A

Turban ornament. 1700-1750. Wearing plumes in a turban indicated royal status in Mughal India. Nephrite jade, gold inset with rubies, emeralds, probably topaz, with gold foil, rock crystal and pearl. Photo: V&A

Kundan set eagle pendant. Mughal, India. Rubies, diamonds, pearls, enamel. Photo: The Al-Sabah collection.

Kundan set eagle pendant. Mughal, India. Rubies, diamonds, pearls, enamel. Photo: The Al-Sabah collection.

Mughal parrot finger ring (c.1600–1625) with a three-dimensional bird that can rotate and bob (possibly providing hours of entertainment for its owner) is set with rubies, emeralds, diamonds and a single sapphire. Photo: The Al-Sabah collection.

Mughal parrot finger ring (c.1600–1625) with a three-dimensional bird that can rotate and bob (possibly providing hours of entertainment for its owner) is set with rubies, emeralds, diamonds and a single sapphire. Photo: The Al-Sabah collection.

Bird Finger Ring (1st quarter of the 17th century), Indian, Mughal or Deccan - Gold, rubies, emeralds, turquoises; carving, kundan technique. Photo: The Al-Sabah collection.

Bird Finger Ring (1st quarter of the 17th century), Indian, Mughal or Deccan - Gold, rubies, emeralds, turquoises; carving, kundan technique. Photo: The Al-Sabah collection.

Pendant in the form of an eagle, Mughal India, 18th century. Gold, cast and chased, set with foiled diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires in gold kundan. Photo: © Nour Foundation

Pendant in the form of an eagle, Mughal India, 18th century. Gold, cast and chased, set with foiled diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires in gold kundan. Photo: © Nour Foundation

This extraordinary figurine comes from the Mughal dynasty of India. Gold, pearl, ruby, diamond and enamel squatting duck on a stand. Photo: British Museum

This extraordinary figurine comes from the Mughal dynasty of India. Gold, pearl, ruby, diamond and enamel squatting duck on a stand. Photo: British Museum

Gold and enamel figurine of an elephant with large natural baroque pearl forming its back and diamonds on its head. Mughal, India. Image credit: British Museum

Gold and enamel figurine of an elephant with large natural baroque pearl forming its back and diamonds on its head. Mughal, India. Image credit: British Museum

Golden spoon, quite literally!  A rare Mughal gem-set gold spoon, India, 17th-18th century. The back is delicately inlaid on the reverse with a lotus rosette comprised of radiating foil-backed diamond petals and rubies, the faceted tapering shaft inlaid with emeralds and bands of ruby quatrefoils within an engraved and chiseled gold framework. Photo: Sotheby's.

Golden spoon, quite literally!
A rare Mughal gem-set gold spoon, India, 17th-18th century. The back is delicately inlaid on the reverse with a lotus rosette comprised of radiating foil-backed diamond petals and rubies, the faceted tapering shaft inlaid with emeralds and bands of ruby quatrefoils within an engraved and chiseled gold framework. Photo: Sotheby's.

A Mughal masterpiece. The necklace features five pendant diamonds (Origin: Golconda mines, India) with emerald drops. The central stone weighs 28 cts. and is the largest table-cut diamond known. The five surrounding stones—weighing 96 cts. collectively—comprise the largest known Matching set of table-cut diamonds from the 17th century. It is believed that the jewel once belonged to a Mughal emperor.

A Mughal masterpiece. The necklace features five pendant diamonds (Origin: Golconda mines, India) with emerald drops. The central stone weighs 28 cts. and is the largest table-cut diamond known. The five surrounding stones—weighing 96 cts. collectively—comprise the largest known Matching set of table-cut diamonds from the 17th century. It is believed that the jewel once belonged to a Mughal emperor.

Mughal ruler Shah Jahan's Wine Cup. Jade. 1657. Jade cup carved in the form of a shell or gourd with carved handle terminating in the head of an Ibex & large floret shaped foot, left side underside view. This large cup is the finest known example of Mughal jade-carving. The Emperor's titles are carved on its side along with the date. Source: V&A Museum

Mughal ruler Shah Jahan's Wine Cup. Jade. 1657. Jade cup carved in the form of a shell or gourd with carved handle terminating in the head of an Ibex & large floret shaped foot, left side underside view. This large cup is the finest known example of Mughal jade-carving. The Emperor's titles are carved on its side along with the date. Source: V&A Museum

Huqqa (water pipe) of emerald-green glass decorated with gold and yellow enamel Northern India; 1st half of 18th century.    The motif was painted “in reserve,” which means that the gold was largely used as the background for the motifs – poppies and cypresses along with various leaf borders. A few details, such as the ribs or little leaves, were executed in gold or yellow enamel. A special refinement is the use of enamel inside, behind the flower heads. Photo: The David Collection

Huqqa (water pipe) of emerald-green glass decorated with gold and yellow enamel
Northern India; 1st half of 18th century.

The motif was painted “in reserve,” which means that the gold was largely used as the background for the motifs – poppies and cypresses along with various leaf borders. A few details, such as the ribs or little leaves, were executed in gold or yellow enamel. A special refinement is the use of enamel inside, behind the flower heads. Photo: The David Collection

Portrait of Mumtaz Mahal (Arjumand Banu Begum). She was the favourite wife of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. She died shortly after giving birth to her fourteenth child in 1631. The following year the emperor began work on the mausoleum that would house her body. The result was the world-famous Taj Mahal. Photo: V&A

Portrait of Mumtaz Mahal (Arjumand Banu Begum). She was the favourite wife of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. She died shortly after giving birth to her fourteenth child in 1631. The following year the emperor began work on the mausoleum that would house her body. The result was the world-famous Taj Mahal. Photo: V&A

Miniature portrait pendant. Watercolor on ivory, gold, glass. 1830-1850, India. In this instance, an artist from Delhi has portrayed a courtesan dressed as a princess wearing elaborate Mughal gold and gem-set jewelry. Photo: The Walters Art Museum

Miniature portrait pendant. Watercolor on ivory, gold, glass. 1830-1850, India. In this instance, an artist from Delhi has portrayed a courtesan dressed as a princess wearing elaborate Mughal gold and gem-set jewelry. Photo: The Walters Art Museum

A Bejeweled Maiden with a Parakeet. Illustrated single work. ca. 1670–1700, Mughal. India, Golconda, Deccan. The bird sits on the maiden’s henna-reddened fingers, each one of which is separately adorned by a diamond ring. She also wears strands of pearls, with emeralds and rubies.

A Bejeweled Maiden with a Parakeet. Illustrated single work. ca. 1670–1700, Mughal. India, Golconda, Deccan. The bird sits on the maiden’s henna-reddened fingers, each one of which is separately adorned by a diamond ring. She also wears strands of pearls, with emeralds and rubies.

A rare Mughal pale green jadeite snuff bottle. 1800-1900. The flattened, rounded bottle is well carved on either side with a large flower reserved on a dense ground of overlapping leaves. Either shoulder is carved with a smaller flower head as is the top of the mouth rim. The translucent stone is of pale icy green tone. 2 in. (5 cm.) high, pink tourmaline stopper and bone spoon.

A rare Mughal pale green jadeite snuff bottle. 1800-1900. The flattened, rounded bottle is well carved on either side with a large flower reserved on a dense ground of overlapping leaves. Either shoulder is carved with a smaller flower head as is the top of the mouth rim. The translucent stone is of pale icy green tone. 2 in. (5 cm.) high, pink tourmaline stopper and bone spoon.

Mughal gold and enamel belt buckle in two pieces with inlaid diamonds. Enamel decoration on reverse of tiger attacking a boar. b. Rectangular element with small round ring through which oblong ring fits. Hook is attached to this. Enamel tiger attacking a deer in foliage on reverse of rectangular element. British Museum

Mughal gold and enamel belt buckle in two pieces with inlaid diamonds. Enamel decoration on reverse of tiger attacking a boar. b. Rectangular element with small round ring through which oblong ring fits. Hook is attached to this. Enamel tiger attacking a deer in foliage on reverse of rectangular element. British Museum

Gold and enamel figurine of bird on a stand, set with diamonds, with a fish in its beak. Mughal. British Museum

Gold and enamel figurine of bird on a stand, set with diamonds, with a fish in its beak. Mughal. British Museum

In the past I have authored posts on, Top Ten - Largest Diamonds Discovered In The WorldSplendors of Mughal IndiaThe Magnificent Maharajas Of IndiaMystery & History Of Marquise Diamond CutÓr - Ireland's GoldThe Legendary Cullinan DiamondBejeweled Persia - Historic Jewelry From The Qajar DynastyFamous Heart-Shaped DiamondsType II DiamondsGreen DiamondsRed Diamonds and more. Being a curious artist that I am, over years, I have spent countless hours in self-driven studies on diamond, jewelry history and 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 reason - to share my collected knowledge with all who are interested, so that more can benefit from it. Take a look and enjoy! -- Reena

The Magnificent Maharajas of India

Maharajas! The word maharaja, literally ‘great king’, conjures up a vision of splendor and magnificence. These princely rulers of India played an important role within a social and historical context and were patrons of the arts, both in India and Europe. That resulted in magnificent objects symbolic of royal status, power and identity.

According to an account by Alain Boucheron on his family business in the book “The Master Jewelers” that was cited in the Times:

"The flamboyant Maharajah... arrived at Boucheron's in 1927 accompanied by a retinue of 40 servants all wearing pink turbans, his 20 favorite dancing girls and, most important of all, six caskets filled with 7571 diamonds, 1432 emeralds, sapphires, rubies and pearls of incomparable beauty.”

Here's a look at the opulent world of the maharajas and their extraordinarily rich culture thought their jewels.

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.

Maharajah of Patiala, Yadavindra Singh. Patiala Necklace.

Maharajah of Patiala, Yadavindra Singh. Patiala Necklace.

Maharajah of Patiala, Yadavindra Singh. Patiala Necklace. Weighing almost a 1000 carats, Patiala necklace was made for the Maharaja in 1928 by Cartier, the bib-like Art Deco necklace featured five rows of diamond-encrusted platinum chains and over-sized gems. It included as its centerpiece the famous De Beers diamond, a cushion-cut pale yellow diamond weighing 234.69 carats.

Maharajah of Patiala, Yadavindra Singh. Patiala Necklace. Weighing almost a 1000 carats, Patiala necklace was made for the Maharaja in 1928 by Cartier, the bib-like Art Deco necklace featured five rows of diamond-encrusted platinum chains and over-sized gems. It included as its centerpiece the famous De Beers diamond, a cushion-cut pale yellow diamond weighing 234.69 carats.

Jacques Cartier with Indian gemstone merchants, 1911, Cartier Archives. Since his first trip to India, in 1911, Jacques Cartier (1884-1942) had become familiar with the extravagant tastes of the maharajas. Fabulously rich and passionate about precious stones, the Indian princes stopped at nothing to satisfy their perpetual appetite for jewels. Image: Cartier Archives

Jacques Cartier with Indian gemstone merchants, 1911, Cartier Archives. Since his first trip to India, in 1911, Jacques Cartier (1884-1942) had become familiar with the extravagant tastes of the maharajas. Fabulously rich and passionate about precious stones, the Indian princes stopped at nothing to satisfy their perpetual appetite for jewels. Image: Cartier Archives

Drawing of the ceremonial necklace for the Maharajah of Nawanagar, 1931, London Cartier Archives. Jacques Cartier presented the Maharaja with a dazzling project. Sadly, the Maharaja of Nawanagar had little time to wear the “finest cascade of coloured diamonds in the World”. He died in 1933, two years after the necklace was delivered. Image: Cartier Archives

Drawing of the ceremonial necklace for the Maharajah of Nawanagar, 1931, London Cartier Archives. Jacques Cartier presented the Maharaja with a dazzling project. Sadly, the Maharaja of Nawanagar had little time to wear the “finest cascade of coloured diamonds in the World”. He died in 1933, two years after the necklace was delivered. Image: Cartier Archives

Devant-de-Corsage brooch, 1912, Cartier. Pear brilliant-cut diamond of 34.08 carats, oval brilliant-cut diamond of 23.55 carats, modified marquise brilliant-cut diamond of 6.51 carats, heart modified brilliant-cut diamond of 3.54 carats, lily-of-the-valley old-cut diamond links, platinum and 18k white gold. Image: Christie’s

Devant-de-Corsage brooch, 1912, Cartier. Pear brilliant-cut diamond of 34.08 carats, oval brilliant-cut diamond of 23.55 carats, modified marquise brilliant-cut diamond of 6.51 carats, heart modified brilliant-cut diamond of 3.54 carats, lily-of-the-valley old-cut diamond links, platinum and 18k white gold. Image: Christie’s

The famous Baroda Diamond Necklace. This magnificent ceremonial necklace with diamonds and emeralds was worn by the Maharaja (King) of Baroda, India in the 1860s. It was said to have been broken up in the 1940s to provide stones for anklets for the new Maharani (Queen) of Baroda, Sita Devi. Image compilation:    https://royal-magazin.de/

The famous Baroda Diamond Necklace. This magnificent ceremonial necklace with diamonds and emeralds was worn by the Maharaja (King) of Baroda, India in the 1860s. It was said to have been broken up in the 1940s to provide stones for anklets for the new Maharani (Queen) of Baroda, Sita Devi. Image compilation: https://royal-magazin.de/

From The Treasury of Baroda - a magnificent three-tired diamond necklace, shown here worn by the Maharani of Baroda, Sita Devi in 1948. Khande Roe, Gaekwar of Baroda, had this necklace made to display two important diamonds - The 128.48-carat Star of the South (fancy light pinkish-brown) and the 78.5-carat English Dresden below it. Necklace photo: circa 1880. Image compilation:    https://royal-magazin.de/

From The Treasury of Baroda - a magnificent three-tired diamond necklace, shown here worn by the Maharani of Baroda, Sita Devi in 1948. Khande Roe, Gaekwar of Baroda, had this necklace made to display two important diamonds - The 128.48-carat Star of the South (fancy light pinkish-brown) and the 78.5-carat English Dresden below it. Necklace photo: circa 1880. Image compilation: https://royal-magazin.de/

The 61.05 carat Tiger Eye Diamond in the Tiger Eye Turban Ornament. Cartier London, 1937  Platinum, diamond . Although the Cartiers were never technically diamond merchants, the deals they made and the work they did with some of the finest stones in the world played a key role in developing the firm’s international stature. In 1937, Maharaja Digvijaysinhji of Nawanagar asked Cartier to set the ‘Tiger Eye’, an unusual cognac-coloured diamond discovered in 1913 and sold by the firm to his predecessor Maharaja Ranjisinhji. Cartier designed a turban ornament around the gem, using baguette-cut diamonds to create an Art Deco look for this traditional Indian jewellery form. Image courtesy: Al Thani Collection

The 61.05 carat Tiger Eye Diamond in the Tiger Eye Turban Ornament. Cartier London, 1937
Platinum, diamond . Although the Cartiers were never technically diamond merchants, the deals they made and the work they did with some of the finest stones in the world played a key role in developing the firm’s international stature. In 1937, Maharaja Digvijaysinhji of Nawanagar asked Cartier to set the ‘Tiger Eye’, an unusual cognac-coloured diamond discovered in 1913 and sold by the firm to his predecessor Maharaja Ranjisinhji. Cartier designed a turban ornament around the gem, using baguette-cut diamonds to create an Art Deco look for this traditional Indian jewellery form. Image courtesy: Al Thani Collection

Belle Époque diamond jigha, 1907 and remodelled circa 1935. 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. Image: Christie’s

Belle Époque diamond jigha, 1907 and remodelled circa 1935. 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. Image: Christie’s

One of the highlights for me at 'Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration' exhibition was this incredible 2000-carat, King Edward VII's diamond encrusted sword. Set with more than 700 white and yellow diamonds, the sword was presented to King Edward VII by the Maharajah of Jaipur, Sawai Sir Madho Singh Bahadur, to mark the king's coronation in 1902. Made from steel and gold, enamelled in blue, green and red, the diamonds are set in a design of lotus flowers and leaves. Photo:© PA

One of the highlights for me at 'Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration' exhibition was this incredible 2000-carat, King Edward VII's diamond encrusted sword. Set with more than 700 white and yellow diamonds, the sword was presented to King Edward VII by the Maharajah of Jaipur, Sawai Sir Madho Singh Bahadur, to mark the king's coronation in 1902. Made from steel and gold, enamelled in blue, green and red, the diamonds are set in a design of lotus flowers and leaves. Photo:© PA

Maharaja Bhupendra Singh of Patiala. 1911. Wears an aigrette or Sarpech by Cartier and various other turban ornaments. While the front of aigrette is set with diamonds, rubies and emeralds, the back shows the intricacy of craftsmanship with foliate motifs of red, green and blue enamel. He also wears a necklace of fourteen strands of natural pearls.

Maharaja Bhupendra Singh of Patiala. 1911. Wears an aigrette or Sarpech by Cartier and various other turban ornaments. While the front of aigrette is set with diamonds, rubies and emeralds, the back shows the intricacy of craftsmanship with foliate motifs of red, green and blue enamel. He also wears a necklace of fourteen strands of natural pearls.

An enamel and gold hunting case pocket watch. Champlevé enamel portrait depicting Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, enamel coat of arms on the reverse, white enamel dial, 18k gold, circa 1930. Image: Christie’s

An enamel and gold hunting case pocket watch. Champlevé enamel portrait depicting Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, enamel coat of arms on the reverse, white enamel dial, 18k gold, circa 1930. Image: Christie’s

A single-strand natural pearl and diamond necklace, Cartier. Graduated strand of 37 natural pearls of 14.00 to 7.05 mm, old-cut marquise-shaped diamond, platinum (French marks). Image: Christie’s

A single-strand natural pearl and diamond necklace, Cartier. Graduated strand of 37 natural pearls of 14.00 to 7.05 mm, old-cut marquise-shaped diamond, platinum (French marks). Image: Christie’s

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. Many of Cartier’s finest jewels from this period were inspired by Indian architecture, gems and jewels. The calibré-cut sapphire trim and diamond detail are reminiscent of ornate archways present in Mughal palaces and royal quarters. Image: Christie’s

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. Many of Cartier’s finest jewels from this period were inspired by Indian architecture, gems and jewels. The calibré-cut sapphire trim and diamond detail are reminiscent of ornate archways present in Mughal palaces and royal quarters. Image: Christie’s

Bejeweled Maharaja of Mysore. © V&A Images/Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Bejeweled Maharaja of Mysore. © V&A Images/Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Bernard Boutet de Monvel, The Maharadjah (Maharaja) of Indore, Oil on canvas, 1933. 85 x 85 cm, Estimate : 300.000 – 500.000 € and sold in 2016 for €2,499,000. Image: Sotheby’s. Boutet de Monvel’s depiction of the Oxford-educated Maharajah of Indore, whose likeness was destined for the walls of Manik Bagh, his Indian palace. In this six-foot, stunningly ethereal composition from 1933, the young man, dressed in traditional costume, sits on a white throne against a pale background, t   he whole brought to vivid life by shots of shimmering colour: a garnet-hued turban on his head, two magnificent 47-carat diamonds (the Pears of Indore) around his neck   , along with a luxurious fabric and a striped sabre scabbard at his feet.

Bernard Boutet de Monvel, The Maharadjah (Maharaja) of Indore, Oil on canvas, 1933. 85 x 85 cm, Estimate : 300.000 – 500.000 € and sold in 2016 for €2,499,000. Image: Sotheby’s. Boutet de Monvel’s depiction of the Oxford-educated Maharajah of Indore, whose likeness was destined for the walls of Manik Bagh, his Indian palace. In this six-foot, stunningly ethereal composition from 1933, the young man, dressed in traditional costume, sits on a white throne against a pale background, the whole brought to vivid life by shots of shimmering colour: a garnet-hued turban on his head, two magnificent 47-carat diamonds (the Pears of Indore) around his neck, along with a luxurious fabric and a striped sabre scabbard at his feet.

Bernard Boutet de Monvel, The Maharadjah (Maharaja) of Indore, Oil on canvas, 1933. 85 x 85 cm, Estimate : 300.000 – 500.000 € and sold in 2016 for €2,499,000. Image: Sotheby’s. Maharaja is wearing two magnificent 47-carat diamonds (the Pears of Indore) around his neck.

Bernard Boutet de Monvel, The Maharadjah (Maharaja) of Indore, Oil on canvas, 1933. 85 x 85 cm, Estimate : 300.000 – 500.000 € and sold in 2016 for €2,499,000. Image: Sotheby’s. Maharaja is wearing two magnificent 47-carat diamonds (the Pears of Indore) around his neck.

Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh Bahadur of Alwar, born 1882. Besides his traditional Indian ornaments, he wears the star insignia of the Indian orders granted to him by the British (Raj), then considered a part of the royal regalia.

Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh Bahadur of Alwar, born 1882. Besides his traditional Indian ornaments, he wears the star insignia of the Indian orders granted to him by the British (Raj), then considered a part of the royal regalia.

Maharaja Sayaiji-Roa, Gaekwar, Baroda. 1902. Wearing his famous seven row diamond necklace and other diamond ornaments. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, virtually every Indian Maharaja commissioned state photographs of themselves wearing their most important jewelry as a symbol of their power and position.

Maharaja Sayaiji-Roa, Gaekwar, Baroda. 1902. Wearing his famous seven row diamond necklace and other diamond ornaments. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, virtually every Indian Maharaja commissioned state photographs of themselves wearing their most important jewelry as a symbol of their power and position.

A cross cultural exchange. Miniature painting. National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, India. 1902. Interpreted by an Indian artist (unknown), King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, depicted as the King-Emperor and Queen-Empress of India.

A cross cultural exchange. Miniature painting. National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, India. 1902. Interpreted by an Indian artist (unknown), King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, depicted as the King-Emperor and Queen-Empress of India.

Raja Savant Singh and Bani Thani. 1780. Courtesy Spink and Sons Ltd. London. Kishengarh miniature painting, characterized by exaggerated profiles. Both with traditional Mughal-Rajput-style ornaments consisting of pearls, emeralds and rubies.

Raja Savant Singh and Bani Thani. 1780. Courtesy Spink and Sons Ltd. London. Kishengarh miniature painting, characterized by exaggerated profiles. Both with traditional Mughal-Rajput-style ornaments consisting of pearls, emeralds and rubies.

Diamonds and emeralds set in platinum. Aigrette (also known as Sarpech - Turban ornament). Private collection. 1930

Diamonds and emeralds set in platinum. Aigrette (also known as Sarpech - Turban ornament). Private collection. 1930

The state durbar decorated elephant, with attendants of the Maharaja of Mysore. Royal India.

The state durbar decorated elephant, with attendants of the Maharaja of Mysore. Royal India.

End of 19th century rendering by Chaumet staff designer, of a proposed ensemble of ornaments for the uniform of a Maharaja. Rendering shows the use of diamonds, emeralds and pearls. Courtesy Chaumet.

End of 19th century rendering by Chaumet staff designer, of a proposed ensemble of ornaments for the uniform of a Maharaja. Rendering shows the use of diamonds, emeralds and pearls. Courtesy Chaumet.

1925. Rendering by Charles Jacqueau of Cartier for a headdress ornament for a turban, a project suggested by Maharaja of Kapurthala. Courtesy Cartier.

1925. Rendering by Charles Jacqueau of Cartier for a headdress ornament for a turban, a project suggested by Maharaja of Kapurthala. Courtesy Cartier.

Jade case, 1700-1800. Jade, rubies, emeralds, diamonds, steel. © V&A Images/Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Jade case, 1700-1800. Jade, rubies, emeralds, diamonds, steel. © V&A Images/Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

The Maharajah of Kolhapur.

The Maharajah of Kolhapur.

The superb clarity and color of emerald ranks it among the world's finest Colombian emeralds. It was once the centerpiece of an emerald and diamond necklace belonging to the Maharani of the former state of Baroda , India. It originally weighed 38.4 carats, but was recut and set in a ring designed by Harry Winston, where it is surrounded by 60 pear-shaped diamonds totaling 15 carats. Photo: Smithsonian

The superb clarity and color of emerald ranks it among the world's finest Colombian emeralds. It was once the centerpiece of an emerald and diamond necklace belonging to the Maharani of the former state of Baroda , India. It originally weighed 38.4 carats, but was recut and set in a ring designed by Harry Winston, where it is surrounded by 60 pear-shaped diamonds totaling 15 carats. Photo: Smithsonian

Maharaja Dilip Singh of Lahore. 1852. Portrait by George Beechy. Shown here at age fifteen. Amongst many other jewels, he is wearing a diamond Sarpech (Indian turban ornament) or aigrette with three plumes and a centrally placed emerald.

Maharaja Dilip Singh of Lahore. 1852. Portrait by George Beechy. Shown here at age fifteen. Amongst many other jewels, he is wearing a diamond Sarpech (Indian turban ornament) or aigrette with three plumes and a centrally placed emerald.

Van Cleef & Arpels, Paris, 1949–50. The "Baroda Set" ordered by the Maharani of Baroda, “The Indian Wallis Simpson”, wife of the Maharaja of Baroda. This impressive suite of jewellery was designed by Jacques Arpels for Sita Devi, the second wife of Maharaja Pratapsinh Gaekwad of Baroda. It consists of 13 pear-shaped Colombian emeralds – 154 carats in total – suspended from diamonds set in the shape of a lotus flower. All the gems were all supplied by the Maharani and belonged to the Baroda Crown Jewels.

Van Cleef & Arpels, Paris, 1949–50. The "Baroda Set" ordered by the Maharani of Baroda, “The Indian Wallis Simpson”, wife of the Maharaja of Baroda. This impressive suite of jewellery was designed by Jacques Arpels for Sita Devi, the second wife of Maharaja Pratapsinh Gaekwad of Baroda. It consists of 13 pear-shaped Colombian emeralds – 154 carats in total – suspended from diamonds set in the shape of a lotus flower. All the gems were all supplied by the Maharani and belonged to the Baroda Crown Jewels.

Khande Roe, Gaekwar of Baroda, had this necklace made to display both the 128.48-carat "Star of the South" and the 78.5-carat "English Dresden" below it. Photo circa 1880.

Khande Roe, Gaekwar of Baroda, had this necklace made to display both the 128.48-carat "Star of the South" and the 78.5-carat "English Dresden" below it. Photo circa 1880.

Turban ornament- gold, diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphire, pearl. Image: V&A

Turban ornament- gold, diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphire, pearl. Image: V&A

The Maharaja of Darbhanga. Royal India.

The Maharaja of Darbhanga. Royal India.

The Maharaja of Alwar. (1882-1937). Royal India.

The Maharaja of Alwar. (1882-1937). Royal India.

Renowned for its impressive size, intense color and sharp star, the Star of Asia, which weighs 330 carats, is one of the world’s finest star sapphires. It originated from Burma and is said to have belonged to India’s Maharajah of Jodhpur. Photo by Chip Clark

Renowned for its impressive size, intense color and sharp star, the Star of Asia, which weighs 330 carats, is one of the world’s finest star sapphires. It originated from Burma and is said to have belonged to India’s Maharajah of Jodhpur. Photo by Chip Clark

Emerald and diamond necklace, containing 17 rectangular emeralds, 277 carats. The emerald in the pendant weighed 70 carats and was reputed to have come from the collection of a former Sultan of Turkey. Jacques Cartier set it in a Art deco piece for the Maharaja of Nawanagar. Image: Cartier. Coloration in image by:    https://royal-magazin.de/

Emerald and diamond necklace, containing 17 rectangular emeralds, 277 carats. The emerald in the pendant weighed 70 carats and was reputed to have come from the collection of a former Sultan of Turkey. Jacques Cartier set it in a Art deco piece for the Maharaja of Nawanagar. Image: Cartier. Coloration in image by: https://royal-magazin.de/

Maharajah of Nawanagar wearing the emerald and diamond necklace created by Cartier in 1926, Cartier Archives.

Maharajah of Nawanagar wearing the emerald and diamond necklace created by Cartier in 1926, Cartier Archives.

The Maharana of Udaipur. Royal India.

The Maharana of Udaipur. Royal India.

Maharaja Bhupendra Singh of Patiala. Image:  © National Portrait Gallery, London

Maharaja Bhupendra Singh of Patiala. Image: © National Portrait Gallery, London

The Gaekwar of Baroda. Diamond necklace made to display both the 128.48-carat "Star of the South" and the 78.5-carat "English Dresden" below it.

The Gaekwar of Baroda. Diamond necklace made to display both the 128.48-carat "Star of the South" and the 78.5-carat "English Dresden" below it.

The Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir. Royal India.

The Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir. Royal India.

Emerald necklace & pendant that belonged to Maharani Prem Kumari, wife of the Maharaja of Kapurthala. 1910

Emerald necklace & pendant that belonged to Maharani Prem Kumari, wife of the Maharaja of Kapurthala. 1910

Sprays of flowers turban jewel. Once belonged to the Maharaja of Jaipur. The aigrette is set with rubies, emeralds and pale beryls on one side, and the same stones with the addition of diamonds on the other. The stem and the sides of the jewel are enamelled in translucent green.

Sprays of flowers turban jewel. Once belonged to the Maharaja of Jaipur. The aigrette is set with rubies, emeralds and pale beryls on one side, and the same stones with the addition of diamonds on the other. The stem and the sides of the jewel are enamelled in translucent green.

Prince, The Gaekwar of Baroda. Princely India. Diamond necklace made to display both the 128.48-carat "Star of the South" and the 78.5-carat "English Dresden" below it. Royal India.

Prince, The Gaekwar of Baroda. Princely India.
Diamond necklace made to display both the 128.48-carat "Star of the South" and the 78.5-carat "English Dresden" below it. Royal India.

In the past I have authored posts on, Top Ten - Largest Diamonds Discovered In The WorldSplendors of Mughal IndiaThe Magnificent Maharajas Of IndiaMystery & History Of Marquise Diamond CutÓr - Ireland's GoldThe Legendary Cullinan DiamondBejeweled Persia - Historic Jewelry From The Qajar DynastyFamous Heart-Shaped DiamondsType II DiamondsGreen DiamondsRed Diamonds and more. Being a curious artist that I am, over years, I have spent countless hours in self-driven studies on diamond, jewelry history and 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 reason - to share my collected knowledge with all who are interested, so that more can benefit from it. Take a look and enjoy! -- Reena