Historic Indian jewels star in new V&A Exhibition

Diamonds Forever

Diamonds Forever

2015-11-27 16:16:45

A remarkable collection of rare and historic jewels from India is now on display in a major new exhibition at the V&A Museum.

The jewels are on loan from the collection of Sheikh Hamad Bin Abdullah Al Thani, and evoke the royal treasuries of India, particularly that of the 17th century Mughal emperors.

“The jewelled arts of India have fascinated me from an early age and I have been fortunate to be able to assemble a meaningful collection that spans from the Mughal period to the present day," commented Sheikh Hamad Bin Abdullah Al Thani.

Some of the most historic exhibits include a Golconda diamond given in 1767 to Queen Charlotte by the Nawab of Arcot in South India; a jade-hilted dagger that belonged to the 17th-century emperor Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal; and a jewelled gold tiger’s head finial from the throne of the famed Tipu Sultan of Mysore.

Alongside the pieces from the Al Thani Collection, the exhibition will also present three items from the Royal Collection, generously lent by Her Majesty The Queen: a jewelled bird from the gold canopy of Tipu Sultan’s throne, the ‘Timur Ruby’ and the Nabha spinel.

“This is a fascinating insight into a great private collection that includes extraordinary precious stones, both unmounted and set into jewels," said Martin Roth, Director of the V&A.

"The exquisite quality and craftsmanship of many fine pieces from and inspired by India complement the V&A’s own South Asian and jewellery collections. The exhibition is a spectacular element of the Museum-wide India Festival this autumn.”

The exhibition also illustrates the way in which Indian jewels influenced the designs of European houses in the early 20th century, and features contemporary pieces created with an Indian theme.

Bejewelled Treasures: The Al Thani Collection runs at the V&A until March 28, 2016.


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