Royal Qatari presents a rare Indian jewelry collection


Written by Chris Dwyer, CNNSan Francisco, California

In the 17th century, a super jade dagger and gold was created for Shah Jahan, the emperor who built the Taj Mahal. Two centuries later, he found his way to the private collection of Morse code inventor Samuel Morse.

It is now one of the 150 stunning objects borrowed from the private collection of the Qatar family for the "East Meets West: Jewels of the Maharajas from the Al Thani Collection" at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.

The Al Thani collection includes Indian art and jewelery from the Mughal empire until today. It was founded by Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani, a member of the Royal Qatari family. To bring together the valuable items, he sought the help of Amin Jaffer, Christie's International Asian Art Director, who helped to collect more than 400 pieces in just two years.

Here the borders of the brilliant cutting diamonds and a substantial emerald eco European jewelery designs such as gems are not boxed in closed arrangements that were typical of Indian jewelery. Credit: Legitimate Legion of Honor

The earliest pieces that appeared since 1526 when Mughals – a Muslim dynasty rooted in Central Asia – invaded northern India and founded an empire. Until that time, Europeans had already set up commercial places in India, and Mughal emperors were fascinated by the technology they used for crafts (especially gemstone cutting techniques), as well as foreign treasures, such as Colombia emeralds.

In return, Europeans were thrilled by the wealth of the Mughals. For example, Emperor Jahangir's treasury included more than five million carats of intact diamonds. A 16th-century Flemish jewelery trader, Jacques de Coutre, is said to have noticed that Jahangir had more jewels than the monarchs of Europe combined.

An Indian pendant inspired by European jewelery traditions. Credit: Legitimate Legion of Honor

Mughals and Europeans continued to create close ties, according to report maintainer Martin Chapman.

"Western jewelers and goldsmiths worked in Mughal's courts, while the techniques and tastes of European jewels continued to exert great appeal on the Indian princes," he said.

"In the years to come, it was in Europe that the maharajas are flocking to restore the gems to their vaults, inspiring a blend of Indian styles and tastes with western arrangements that characterize a century-old jewel of the 20th century."

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Sex is also reported in the report, Chapman added, with almost all the pieces that were made – and wearing the men:

"We in the West seem to think that only women wear jewelery," he said. "But the men in India, especially the male leaders – emperors Mughal and maharajas – who turn their expectations into their heads with their outrageous and ornate jewelry: bracelets, bracelets, rings, necklaces and earrings, and most of the characteristic jewelery , the gem of the song. "

Go to the above gallery for selecting Martin Chapman for 10 items from the exhibition. "East meets the West: Maharajah's Jewelry from the Al Thani Collection"runs at the Legion of Honor until 24 February 2019.