Spanish Inquisition necklace and vintage American actress Katherine Hepburn

Hollywood actress Katherine Hepburn,

Above American actress  Katherine hepburn wearing Spanish Inquisition necklace a multi-strand  jewelry with diamonds and emeralds, once owned by the rulers of the Gaekwad Dynasty of Indore, India. The occasion was the 19th Academy Awards ceremony to get the Oscar.  A brilliant actress with screen persona that matched her real life image. Her career as a Hollywood leading lady spanned over six decades. She was known for her independence, spirited personality  and outspokenness. The necklace was loaned to her by the jeweller Harry Winston. What is unique about the gemstones -emeralds and diamonds is they were barrels cut in India. The diamonds were from  the once popular Kollur mines (now defunct) near Guntur, Andhra state..................

Spanish inquisition necklace with Indian diamonds

Katharine Hepburn, famous Hollywood actress and winner of 4 Oscar Awards out of 12 nominations  was busy acting in the 1940s. When in 1947, being glamorous as she was, in order to look more charming on stage, she attended the 19th Annual Oscar Award ceremony  held on March 13,  at the Shrine Civic Auditorium,  wearing  a resplendent and dazzling necklace worthy of her successful career. Her acting career lasted more than 70 years, and in 1999, the American Film Institute honored her by ranking her  as the greatest female star in the history of American cinema. Do you know what jewelry she chose for the grand function?  It was the “Spanish Inquisition Necklace,” loaned by  Harry Winston who had just acquired it from the Maharajah of Indore (Gaekward II), India in the same year. This gesture became the first instance of a designer loaning their jewelry to an actress for the Oscars in the USA. Yet another advantage was the jewelry  gained popularity on account of gaining attention in an international event.

According to Jeffrey Post, the curator of the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution, it was first named by Harry Winston before he sold it to Mrs. Cora Hubbard Williams of Pittsburgh. The necklace, expect owned by the French and Spanish Royalty, has no links with the historical and horrible ''Spanish Inquisition " one of the darkest chapters in the history of mankind. The intolerance of medieval Christianity towards religious pluralism reached to such a nauseating well, it  led to the religious persecution of Jews, Muslims and Protestants in pluralistic Spain by the Christian missionaries and jesuits. One does not normally links this spectacular necklace with a loathsome events like inquisition.

The special attraction was the Spanish Inquisition  Necklace had 15 large emeralds and 16 large diamonds. The diamonds were originally from the Kollur mines of present day Andhra state (Alluvial placer deposits of the Krishna river) - then part of Golconda kingdom. As for superior quality emeralds, they came from the Emerald belt in Columbia South America - the Cinturon Esmeraldífero of the Andes Mountains. The exceptional color, lustre and clarity have placed the emeralds among the best in the world. They were cut in India by the gemstone cutters between 16 and 17th centuries, acceding to many gem experts.

Spanish Inquisition necklace with a large emerald and diamonds

Above image: Emerald is the most popular crystalline form called beryl. The color gradation of green is due to chromium or vanadium present in the gemstone.  The purest green forms of emerald are rare and  are found in Igneous and metamorphic rocks. Gemstones with  blue-green tint are sought by the jewellers.......

The fascinating  necklace is both single stranded and double stranded and chandelier-shaped pendant made of five large emeralds, the largest barrel-cut stone of 45 Ct being in the center.