A good few years ago, the Indian subcontinent was known to be the treasure chest of the world. The mineral-rich lands that yielded the finest of stones attracted many accomplished designers and craftspeople. Indian royal families have been royally flaunting their massive wealth through their breathtaking forts, palaces and jewellery. From Kashmiri Sapphires to Golconda diamonds, the Indian royals have seen and owned it all. Jewellery has long been an integral part of India’s traditional and aesthetic identity, more so, among the rulers of the land. Here’s looking at some of the incredibly exquisite jewels owned by the royal families of India.
Patiala ruby choker – Maharani of Patiala
Created by Cartier Paris in the year 1931, this Patiala ruby choker was a magnificent choker necklace made in platinum. Rubies, pearls and diamonds were used to make this phenomenal piece of jewellery. Just the upper part of the necklace consisted of six layers of rubies with diamonds as well as pearls on the sides. The centre part of the necklace contains rubies with pearls while the lowermost part of the necklace was the heaviest of all with pearls and diamonds.
(Pinterest image of Patiala ruby choker)
Diamond crown – Maharaja of Kapurthala
Wearing a beautiful diamond crown and a 12-string Basra pearl necklace along with a bejeweled diamond belt, the Maharaja of Kapurthala always had an affinity for grand jewels. The Maharaja is seen wearing a traditional sherwani with gold brocade embroidery with his typical sash and the Star of India brooch, an honour conferred to select Indian rulers by the British Crown. Just by a look at this portrait, you can tell how the Maharaja had a clear liking for his royal jewels and a keen eye for style, design as well as presentation.
(Sarmaya image of the diamond crown)
Star of the South diamond necklace – Maharani Sita Devi of Baroda
A 3-tiered diamond necklace consisting of an impressive 128 carat Star of the South diamond was worn by Maharani Sita Devi of Baroda. It also had a 78.5 carat English Dresden diamond in it. The Mulhar Rao, the Gaekwar of Baroda bought the Star of South for £80,000, or about 20 million INR. Later on, this piece of jewellery was bought by Rustomjee Jamsetjee of Mumbai and sold to Cartier in 2002.
(Pinterest image of Star of the South diamond necklace)
Kundan haar – Maharaja Prabhu Narayan Singh of Banares
Maharaja Prabhu Narayan Singh of Benares used to take his royal jewels out for the occasional airing. In this photograph, the Maharaja is seen wearing a staggering Kundan diamond haar made with some other precious gemstones. He is seen wearing the typical sarpech with an attached feather plume. He is also wearing many other intricate articles of jewellery that include peal and polki diamond shoulder pads, bazubandhs, a bejewelled sword, a bejewelled belt, bracelets as well as rings. All of these are seen on a ceremonial court outfit along with the Star of India brooch.
(Sarmaya image of the Kundan haar)
Patiala necklace – Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala
This outstanding royal necklace consisted of a total of 2,930 diamonds. It had the world’s 7th largest diamond, a 234-carat yellow ‘De Beers’ as its centrepiece. This stunning piece was also created by Cartier Paris in the year 1928 for Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala. The astonishing piece of jewellery contained diamonds, topazes, synthetic rubies, citrine, platinum, zirconia, smoky quartz and Burmese rubies.
(Pinterest image of the Patiala necklace)
Diamond dastar – Maharaja Shrimant Sir Ranjit Singhji Sahib Bahadur of Ratlam
Looking at the wedding photograph of the grandson of Sayajirao III Gaekwad of Baroda, you can tell he is donning an extraordinary turban covered in a mesh of intricate sarpattis made of diamonds, pearls and some other precious gemstones. Maharaja Shrimant Sir Ranjit Singhji Sahib Bahadur of Ratlam is also seen wearing a Kundan haar made of diamonds, pearls and gemstones, a pearl choker as well as earrings. If you notice, you’ll see even the angarkha that the Maharaja is wearing is covered in a decorative pattern of gold threads and sequins.
(Sarmaya image of the diamond dastar)
Diamond serpech – Maharaja Duleep Sing of Lahore
Maharaja Duleep Singh of Lahore, the last Maharaja of the Sikh empire is seen wearing a marvelous diamond serpech. It is basically an accessory that is made for the turban. The three plumes are entirely made of diamonds with a dazzling emerald placed right in the centre. Just by looking at this portrait of the Maharaja, you can tell that he had impeccable taste in jewellery ranging from earrings to layered neckpieces and bazubandhs.
(Pinterest image of the diamon serpech)
Disclaimer: Content Produced by The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council