Indian royal jewels fetch high prices at Christie’s auction

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Published: June 20, 2019 2:17:40 PM

Almost 400 lots were offered in the auction titled "Maharajas and Mughal Magnificence" - ranging from legendary Golconda diamonds to dazzling coloured stones, the finest jewelled objects used in the royal courts of India to swords and daggers once owned by Indian rulers.

India royal jewels auction, India royal jewels Christie's auction, Maharajas and Mughal Magnificence auction, Golconda diamond Arcot II, Indian jewellery auction Christie's 17-carat Golconda diamond Arcot II. (Image source: @ChristiesInc/ Twitter)

A premium “once-in-a-lifetime” collection of royal Indian jewellery has fetched over USD 109 million in the US, the highest total ever for any auction of Indian art and jewelled objects, according to global auction house Christie’s. The items included a 17-carat Golconda diamond “Arcot II”, once owned by the Nawab of Arcot, that sold for a stunning USD 3,375,000 (Rs 23.5 crore).

The sale also includes an antique diamond riviere necklace once owned by the Nizams of Hyderabad, which sold for nearly USD 2,415,000 (Rs 17 crore). The 33-diamond necklace was estimated to sell for USD 1,500,000 (nearly Rs 10.5 crore), Christie’s announced on Twitter. “Once-in-a-lifetime collection, and a specially designed New York exhibition, the Maharajas and Mughal Magnificence auction in New York achieved USD 109,271,875, establishing the highest total for any auction of Indian art and jeweled objects, and the second highest auction total for a private jewellery collection,” the global auction house said in a statement.

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Almost 400 lots were offered in the auction titled “Maharajas and Mughal Magnificence” – ranging from legendary Golconda diamonds to dazzling coloured stones, the finest jewelled objects used in the royal courts of India to swords and daggers once owned by Indian rulers, it said. The current auction record is held by ‘The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor’ which totalled USD 144 million in 2011.

The auction had started with the ‘Indore Sapphire Taveez Bead Pendant Necklace, Mounted By Cartier’ that owes its provenance to Indore’s Maharaja Yeshwant Rao Holkar II, who was educated in England and spent much time abroad with his wife. The royal necklace achieved USD 206,250 (Rs 1.44 crore), surpassing a high estimate of USD 60,000 (Rs 42 lakh), Christie’s said on in a tweet. An antique diamond ring of Rajmata Gayatri Devi of Jaipur sold for Rs 4.45 crore.

Another major sale was of an enamelled and jewelled ‘huqqah’ set from 1680-1720, “almost certainly made in the imperial Mughal workshop” as per Christie’s, which went under the hammer for USD 759,000 (almost Rs 5.3 crore) as compared to its higher limit estimate of USD 350,000 (almost Rs 2.4 crore). Another carved emerald brooch, and interchangeable ‘Jigha’ mounting depicting Lord Rama, Sita and Hanuman has sold for USD 735,000 (close to Rs 5.12 crore).

A five-strand natural pearl and diamond necklace and a diamond brooch created by Mumbai-based jewellery house Bhagat sold for high prices as well — Rs 11.8 crore and Rs 1.5 crore respectively.

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