Fabled Indian jewelry - 01

Turban jewel. N. India. aintruong2014.wordpress.com
The very  mention  of expensive, resplendent gold jewelry or gem-crusted jewelry may conjure up the the imagination of  legendary erstwhile Indian rulers - both Maharajahs and Muslim kings of India. For several centuries,  the Indian rulers in,  particular, Hindu  kings,  commissioned exclusive royal jewelry to be used by them and the women in the families.  They also spent a large sum of money on expensive jewelry for their family Gods and goddesses. Way back more than 1000 plus years ago, great Indian rulers had a large amount of jewelry in their treasures and a large part of them was  secretly stored in the hidden chambers specially built  in the Hindu temple premises) invariably below the sanctum / Srikovil). Besides, countless temples  have a set of expensive jewelry to be adorned by the deities during certain puja times.  At very rich Hindu temples, on festival days  or for certain daily puja protocols, the temple officials keep changing the set of jewelry to be worn by the Urchavar (procession idols). This tradition of decorating the idol with gold jewels  has been in vogue for centuries. India is home to some of the richest temples in the world. The one at Thiruvanthapuram in Kerala - Padmanabha Swami temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu is the richest place of worship in the world with treasures worth at least US $ 25billion (antique value is not taken into account). This does not include the value of one more underground vault that is not yet opened for inventory. The temple pundits categorically told the government officials that this particular vault whose door is marked with a serpent should not be disturbed. It is like opening the Pandora's box.  

Padmanaba swami tem[le, kerala Amusing Planet
 Above image: The Padmanabha Swami temple in the heart of the State capital Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. It is the richest temple in the world with temple treasures alone worth 25 billion US dollars. If you add antique value, etc it will be more than ten times it's present estimate. Highly protected temple in the world  with seismic sensors, etc. The treasures in the last vault are not taken into account in the present estimate. The erstwhile rulers of Travancore princely state are the patrons of this temple.................................

Treasures, Padmanabha Swami temple, Kerala.The Quint
Centuries ago it was the  hordes of valuable  gold jewelry, gold coins, precious stones  and other fabled treasures that  got the attention of ruthless Muslim rulers in the NW of India's border  -  Afghanistan and beyond. They raided the Hindu temples and kingdoms in the northern and north western India to loot the treasures. The spoils were used to expand their towns and build new buildings, mosques, etc. For countless centuries Indian Royal courts have been known for opulence and artistry in creating mind-boggling and inspiring designs.  The  advent of Mogul rule saw the  creation of nice jewelry that requires good imagination, mastery and special techniques. Indian jewels became enriched with unique Islamic designs. Indian jewels are known for their stunning designs, durability and superb quality and that is the reason why they stand apart in the area of jewelry making and designs in the world. Even to day  Indian jewelry designs catch the attention of  jewel collectors world over.  As for diamond and diamond-cuttings, India plays a vital role in the world diamond business to day. In the last several decades, there has been a great fascination for the 
fine and eye-catching Indian jewels. In the past they were all handcrafted by experienced gold smiths and jewelry makers.

With deep understanding of the artistic and heritage value of the amazing  royal jewelry from the Indian subcontinent, Sheik Hamad bin Abdullah al Thani of Qatar's royal family is believed to have taken  extraordinary interest in such old Indian jewelry  and collect them with meticulous care so that they will be appreciated by the new generation of young people across the globe. In the last several years the Al Thani Collection of jewels has been the focus of attention world over. His amazing vast  valuable exhibits at places like Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, November of 2014,  the Victorian & Albert Museum in London - November 2015, the Miho Museum in Japan - winter of 2016 and  the Grand Palais in Paris -  June 5, 2017, have drawn the attention of vintage  jewelry  collectors, lovers and patrons . His collections include artifacts created for fabulously rich  Indian rulers - Maharajahs, Moguls, the Hyderabad Nizams, and also innovative Tipu Sultan's amazing treasures . Presented below are some of the wonderful creations and also other Indian jewelry. Photo credit: scroll.in/article and 


Turban Ornament (jigha) alaintruong2014.wordpress.com/
 Turban Ornament (jigha) of the Maharaja of Nawanagar, circa 1907 and remodeled in 1935. White gold, set with diamonds, with modern feather plume. The Al-Thani Collection. (Photo: © Prudence Cuming Associates).
Tuban ornament.alaintruong2014.wordpress.com/
 Turban ornament (jigha). North India, Mughal, 1675-1750. Gold, set with spinel, diamonds, and rubies, with hanging emeralds; emerald on stem and reverse. Al-Thani Collection. (Photo: © Prudence Cuming Associates.
 Turban Ornament or Brooch of the Maharajah of Nawanagar (Gujarat), circa 1920. Platinum, set with sapphire and diamonds. The Al-Thani Collection. (Photo: © Prudence Cuming Associates).

Turban ornament. alaintruong2014.wordpress.com/
Turban ornament (sarpesh). South India, probably Hyderabad, ca. 1900. Gold, set with emeralds and diamonds. The Al-Thani Collection. (Photo: © Prudence Cuming Associates)


Ritual Spoon (uddharane),  ca. 1800, South India. Gold, inlaid with diamonds and rubies. This type of spoon is used by royals and rich people when doing Thithi - paying respect to forefathers. The Al-Thani Collection. (Photo: © Prudence Cuming Associates)

Seal ring scroll.in/article

Seal ring with hidden key. South India, Hyderabad, 1884-85. Gold, set with spinel It is an oxide mineral containing magnesium and some of precious varieties are quite valuable. Black Prince's Ruby and the "Timur ruby" in the British crown are quite famous. Timur Ruby was taken away from the Maharajah of Patiala, Punjab by the British in the early 20th century.  It is the largest spionel in the world.

Ceremonial Sword. /scroll.in/article/
Ceremonial Sword. South India, Hyderabad, 1880-1900. Steel blade; gold hilt, inlaid with diamonds, rubies, and emeralds, with applied silver wire.

Aigrette. /scroll.in/article
Aigrette. France, Paris, designed by Paul Iribe, made by Robert Linzeler, 1910. Platinum, set with emerald, sapphires, diamonds, and pearls. The Al-Thani Collection. (Photo: © Prudence Cuming Associates).

 Pair of Bracelets, 1800–25, India, Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh). Gold, set with diamonds, enamel on reverse. The Al-Thani Collection. (Photo: © Prudence Cuming Associates.
 Bracelet, ca. 1800, North India, Jaipur. Gold; set with rubies and diamonds; enamel on reverse. The Al-Thani Collection. (Photo: © Prudence Cuming Associates.
Anklet (dastband almas), 1800–50, Hyderabad or Rajasthan. Orthodox Hindu women avoid wearing anything gold in the leg. Of course, there are exceptions. South or North India. Gold, set with diamonds. The Al-Thani Collection. (Photo: © Prudence Cuming Associates)

\Star of Golcpnda. alaintruong2014.wordpress.com/
"Star of Golconda” Diamond Brooch by Cartier, 2013. Platinum, set with diamonds.  Golconda  near Hyderabad (Telengana state) once had famous diamond mines (Kollur) that produced numerous world famous diamonds including Ko-hi-noor. The Al-Thani Collection. (Photo: © Prudence Cuming Associates)

Forehead or Turban Ornament (tika), ca. 1900, North India, Punjab. Gold, set with emeralds and diamonds, with attached pearls; enamel on reverse. The Al-Thani Collection. (Photo: © Prudence Cuming Associates)

Nose Ring (nath), 1925–50, Western India. Gold, with diamonds, seed pearls, and rubies. Commonly worn by Indian women, including villagers and tribes.The Al-Thani Collection. (Photo: © Prudence Cuming Associates)