NEW YORK – Some 400 jewels from Indian royalty sold for $109.2 million at Christie’s auction house in New York on Wednesday, although they could not surpass the $116 million auction record set by deceased actor Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry collection in 2011.
The pieces, which showcase the “Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence” ranged in price between $5,625 and $3 million, according to the list of the lots that were auctioned distributed by Christie’s.
One of the highest prices was fetched by an antique imperial necklace of pearls and emeralds, which was initially estimated to go under hammer for between $1 and $2 million, and was sold for a little more than $3 million.
One of the other best quoted objects was the Baroda Pearl Canopy, made for the Maharaja of Baroda, Khande Rao Gaekwar in the nineteenth century and was sold at $2.2 million.
A ceremonial sword crimped with diamonds and emeralds, from the Hyderabad court, finally sold for $1.9 million, surpassing the estimates.
Among the jewelry auctioned, which spanned a period of five centuries of Indian history, there were diamonds from the sultanate of Golconda, defined by their impeccable quality, such as the 17-carat “Arcot II” and without any internal defects.
The nawab (King) Muhammad Alli Wallajah had gifted it to Britain’s Queen Charlotte.
The auction included objects such as a set of bowl and plates, covered completely in diamonds, a chessboard in gold and a pipe decorated with gems.
The Al Thani family, related to the current Emir of Qatar and owner of an impressive art collection that has some 6,000 works, will use a part of the funds raised in the auction in the exhibition of is pieces at a new museum which is set to open in Paris in the coming year.