Indian Royal Jewels from the Legendary Al Thani Collection to Be Offered at Christie’s Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence Sale

A trove of nearly 400 Indian royal jewels, gemstone, daggers and decorate objects spanning over 500 years will be offered at Christie’s Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence, showcasing the illustrious culture of Indian jewelled arts from the Mughal dynasty to the age of Maharajas.

A Belle Époque Diamond Jigha. Estimate: US$1.2m -2.2m

The Mughal dynasty, which ruled in India from 1526 to 1857, was famous for its emeralds, diamonds, sapphires, rubies, weapons and objects. Jewellery in the Mughal tradition was an integral aspect of articulating authority. At the turn of the 20th century, the Maharajas brought India’s incomparable gems and pearls to the renowned jewellery houses of Europe for new inspirations. Some of the innovative pieces by contemporary jewellery maestros such as Bhagat and JAR will also be featured in the sale.

Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani (right) is the owner of The Al Thani Collection

These objects are offered from The Al Thani Collection which comprises Indian art and jewels from the Mughal Empire through to the present. The collection was amassed by Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani, a member of Qatari royal family, together with the help of Amin Jaffer, the international director of Asian art at Christie's. Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani started the collection after visiting the 2009 Maharaja exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum and has since acquired more than 6,000 bejewelled objects and artworks.

The Al Thani Collection on display at Palazzo Ducale in Venice

The Al Thani Collection on display at the Palace Museum in Beijing

You may recognise many pieces as part of the collection was exhibited at prestigious museums around the world over the last five years, including The Victoria & Albert Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Grand Palais in Paris and the Palace Museum in Beijing. The remaining pieces will go on permanent display at the Hôtel de la Marine in Paris next year.

Portrait of Shah Jahan, Mughal India, circa 1700. Estimate: $40,000-60,000.

Notable lots from the sale include items once owned by Shah Jahan, one of the most important Mughal rulers. Shah Jahan ascended the throne in 1627 after the death of his father, Emperor Jahangir, and ruled from 1628 to 1658. It a period regarded as the Golden Age of the Mughal Empire, in which he witnessed the development of the most significant examples of Mughal architecture and design. The Taj Mahal is the best known symbol of Shah Jahan’s commitment to high Mughal architecture. 

The Shan Jahan Dagger (Kard). North India, Hilt 1620-1630. Estimate: US$1.5m-2.5m

For example, the Shan Jahan dagger demonstrates in one piece so many different elements which, when fused together, gave Mughal Art its character. The scrolling designs inlaid in gold at the top of the blade, together with the nasta'liq script in which the short inscription is written are imports from the Iranian world. 

Other highlights from the sale:

A Belle Époque Diamond Devant-de-corsage Brooch, Cartier

An Antique Diamond and Enamel Peacock Aigrette, Mellerio Dits Meller. Estimate: US$500,000-700,000

The Nizam of Hyderabad Necklace from the collection of the Nizams of India. Estimate: US$1.5m-2.5m.

The Hilt of the State Sword of Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala (1872-1949). North India. Circa 1900. Estimate: $100,000-150,000.

A Diamond Set and Enamelled Gold Covered Bowl and Stand. Hyderabad, India, 1790-1810. Estimate: US$300,000-500,000

Auction details

Auction house: Christie’s New York
Sale: Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence
Date: 19 June|10am (lots 1-149)
         19 June|2:30pm (lots 150-388)