Royal Gems of India

Naturally, I chose to go to the Gem Palace, the jewellery shop frequented by Devi Gayatri – the Maharani of Jaipur.

Upon entering, I felt I was breathing an India of another time.  There were many employees, both to guard the shop from likely theft, but also to help the many foreign ladies visiting. To be perfectly honest, it wasn’ t the quietest place to be. There were many small rooms containing velvet-lined glass cases to enclose the precious contents. Gems sparkled and flashed – dangling earrings, wide necklaces to cover a woman’ s cleavage, ankle bracelets and toe rings! Everything that was fine and exquisite about Indian jewellery laid out before my eyes. It was an entire symphony of luminous diamonds, sapphires of the deepest blue, rubies the colour of pigeon’s blood, pink pearls and sea-green emeralds, most of which were set in gold.

In the beginning of the 20th century, the Maharajahs would arrive in Paris bearing small chests brimming with precious stones for the jewellers of the Rue de la Paix to set into glorious achievements of their art. The Parisian jewellers, in turn, would be inspired by the technique of their Indian colleagues, who had accomplished more in this area than the Persians and the Ottomans...

Αn excerpt from the book: INDIA and my Persian garden

Jewels of the Maharajas, Al Thani Collection, Qatar

Jewels of the Maharajas, Al Thani Collection, Qatar

Header, Al Thani Collection, Qatar

Header, Al Thani Collection, Qatar

Barbara Athanassiadis