The curated list of Top 10 vintage royal pieces of Jewellery of India
Think of the royals and you cannot help conjuring images of opulence and magnificence in your mind.
The art of adornment dates back not only centuries but millenniums. Over time, the materials used for crafting ornaments have undergone a sea of change from flowers and beads, shell, bone and stone to copper, ivory and semi-precious stones, followed by silver, gold, and precious stones.
Indian royals are known for their love of jewellery and why not? It is only befitting for the kings and queens to showcase their riches through elaborate ornaments considering the massive wealth they had amassed through the generations.
Here’s a quick run through 10 splendid jewellery pieces owned by the royals in India.
- Maharaja Bhupinder Singh’s ‘spectacular’ Patiala Necklace
‘Breathtaking’ is the word for this Cartier Paris’ 1928 creation for Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala. Crafted exquisitely with 2,930 diamonds including the World’s 7th largest yellow ‘De Beers’ diamond bedecking its centre, this necklace is quite an opulent design. Zirconias, topazes, platinum, smoky quartz, synthetic rubies, citrine, and Burmese rubies add glitz to this stunning work of art.
- Maharani of Baroda, Sita Devi’s ‘gorgeous’ Baroda Set
It’s love at the first sight the moment you cast your eyes on this waif-like design from Van Cleef & Arpels, Paris. Designed by Jacques Arpels in 1949-50 for Sita Devi, “The Indian Wallis Simpson” and the second wife of Maharaja Pratapsinh Gaekwad of Baroda, this necklace comprises thirteen pear-shaped Columbian emeralds dangling from a lotus leaf design. All the gemstones in this necklace belonged to the Baroda Crown Jewels.
- Maharani of Patiala’s ‘spectacular’ Ruby Choker
Absolutely stunning, this 1931 Cartier creation for the Maharani of Patiala is embellished with pearls, rubies, and diamonds. The top part that goes around the neck is laced with 6 lines of rubies beautified with pearls and diamonds on either end.
It’s the lower part that takes the cake with its stunning workmanship and an enchanting amalgamation of radiant rubies and glistening diamonds.
- Maharaja of Nawanagar’s ‘elegant’ Emerald Necklace
Another example of the opulence of India’s royals is the Jacques Cartier emerald necklace owned by the Maharaja of Nawanagar (modern day Jamnagar in Gujarat). Adorned with diamonds and seventeen rectangle-shaped emeralds belonging to the collection of a former Sultan of Turkey, this 277-carat necklace is an art decoration piece.
- Maharaja of Nawanagar’s “Eye of the Tiger”
Boasting a scintillating design, the “Eye of the Tiger” is the moniker given to the magnificent 61.50 carats cognac-coloured diamond embellishing this Cartier turban aigrette. The ornament is designed around the gem and also uses baguette-cut diamonds to inspire a traditional look.
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- Gaekwars of Baroda’s ‘exquisite’ Star of the South Diamond
An heirloom that was passed down generations, this diamond necklace showcases both the 128.48 carats “Star of the South” and the 78.5 carats “English Dresden” diamond below it. Later, this necklace was in the possession of Maharani Sita Devi of Baroda, who is seen flaunting it in her true regal style. Much later, Rustomjee Jamsetjee of Mumbai bought the Star of the South and sold it to Cartier in 2002.
- Maharaja Duleep Singh’s ‘flamboyant’ Diamond Sarpech
Truly the work of a connoisseur of fine jewellery, the diamond sarpech of the last Maharaja of the Sikh empire is exquisite in terms of looks. The three plumes of this turban ornament are made entirely of diamonds with a bedazzling emerald in the centre.
- Nizams of Hyderabad’s “stupendous” Jewellery Collection
Known to have a legacy of opulence, the Nizams of Hyderabad were owners of a spectacular collection of 25,000 diamonds weighing 12,000 carats, 3000 emeralds, thousands of broaches, sarpechs, necklaces, belts, and diamond-studded gold camels. Their diamond collection included the 184.75 carats Jacob diamond, which is among the seven largest diamonds in the world!
- Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala’s “majestic” Sarpech
Glistening with diamonds, emeralds and rubies, the turban aigrette of the Maharaja of Patiala exemplifies great craftsmanship. The back features intricate detailing with motifs of green, red, and blue enamel and offers a true vintage feel that dates back decades.
- Maharaja of Baroda’s “pristine” Seven-Strand Pearl Necklace
Beautifully crafted, the seven-strand necklace is made of natural pearls that haven’t lost their sheen even after 150 years since their creation.
We hope you like this curated compilation of the top 10 vintage jewellery of royals in our country. Each piece is unique and classy in its own way and it’s not quite a fair idea to rank these designs in terms of their intricacy of craftsmanship, value or quality.
At JD Institute of Fashion Technology, our students at Jewelry Design Course can only wonder the artisanal qualities and talent behind crafting such unique and timeless pieces that have withstood the test of time and remained an integral part of the evolution of Fashion and Jewelry Design.
Let’s just raise a toast to the age of the royals and call it a befitting tribute to them!