x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Jewels from the crown of India’s erstwhile royalty

Jewellery belonging to India's former royalty is on offer at the Royal India Luxury Show in Dubai.

Real salt water pearls from Iraq  and diamonds from the Golconda mines in India make up these earrings valued at Dh5.5 million. Jeff Topping for The National
Real salt water pearls from Iraq and diamonds from the Golconda mines in India make up these earrings valued at Dh5.5 million. Jeff Topping for The National

We all know that good jewellery is expensive – but some jewels are more expensive than others.

It may also have to do with past ownership – who wore them or who owned them.

At the Royal India 2013 Luxury Show at Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach Hotel this week, Gehna Jewellery Boutique was offering jewels from India’s history.

Before independence from British rule in 1947, India was home to more than 600 princely states. And now, the stunning gems of some of India’s former royalty are being offered, by appointment only, to those who want to own a part of the country’s glittering past.

One such piece was a pair of natural saltwater pearl earrings set with diamonds from the famous Golconda mines – the source of the world-famous Koh-i-Noor diamond, which now sits in the Tower of London.

“This is a rare pair of natural saltwater pearls and the diamonds are from the Golconda mines where the 110-carat Koh-i-Noor diamond came from and there are no more diamonds coming from that mine,” says Kanan Naheta of Gehna Jewellery.

“The value of these earrings is because of the size of the pearls, not because of the diamonds, although that obviously helps. The four diamonds weigh 9.89 carats and the natural pearls are certified by the Bahrain authority. They are 600 chow (pronounced “chor”, this is an old measure of pearl weight), which is 17 grams each.These are actual saltwater pearls, you need to wait 15-20 years to collect two identical pearls to make a pair and that is why the value is Dh5.5 million.”

It’s not only millionaires who are able to enjoy the adornments of ancient royalty, there are many bracelets and bangles that suit more modest pockets.

However, with little provenance and even less authentication of historical or royal attachment, any buyer, just like in the art market, should ensure they like what they are buying as not everyone may want to invest in India’s undocumented gems.

ascott@thenational.ae