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11/09/2019

The Al-Thani Collection

Mughal Jewellery Australia

The most outstanding collection, ranging from 17th-century Mughal Empire pieces to 21st-century Cartier, of royal Indian jewellery in the world belongs to Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al-Thani.

The Mughals, descendents of Genghis Khan in Central Asia, arrived in India in 1526. By 1600 the Mughal Empire was the largest in the world. European visitors were astonished by the richness of the treasury of the Mughal rulers.

When Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al-Thani was 27 years old, Dr. Amin Jaffer, then a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, invited him to an exhibition called Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts. The Sheikh, who had never been to India, was enraptured, and immediately started to learn about and collect treasures from India passionately. He became a leading connoisseur of gems.

What distinguishes Indian jewels from other ancient collections is that most of them were worn by men and not women.

In the 17th century, an exquisite jade dagger inlaid with gold was created for Shah Jahan, the emperor who built the Taj Mahal. Two hundred years later, the dagger belonged to Samuel Morse, the inventor of Morse code, and now it is one of most spectacular pieces in the Al-Thani Collection.

Among Sheikh Hamad’s best known pieces is The Tiger Eye, a cognac-coloured diamond turban ornament which Cartier set in platinum for the Maharaja of Nawagar in 1937.

In 2013, the Sheikh purchased a dazzling collection of 18th century gold, silver and enamel betel boxes made in Hyderabad and encrusted with diamonds, and in 2014 he acquired an imperial necklace with seven carved Mughal spinels. He also bought unique contemporary pieces, notably from JAR and Viren Baghat.

“Not since the luxe Cartier and Bulgari shows has there been this much bling in one place — the bling’s the thing!”

And now 400 pieces from the collection are to be auctioned by Christie’s on June 19 2019. The announcement made on April 24 2019 was a surprise to the whole jewellery world. Some gem dealers wondered if the sale had been planned for some time, and whether the recent museum exhibits were a long-term strategy.

Diamonds by Design can bid for you. Or we can find you a beautiful piece of Mughal jewellery. Or we can simply make you a piece of your own jewellery, to love and treasure forever.

Mughal Jewellery Australia: Rings, Necklaces & Earrings

Image Source: The Adventurine

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