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New Book Showcases Al Thani Family Jewelry

Assouline’s new book, “Beyond Extravagance: A Royal Collection of Gems & Jewels,” delves into a private royal collection of fine Indian jewelry.

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LONDON — A new book published by Assouline has opened up a private collection of traditional Indian jewelry belonging to a member of the ruling Al Thani family of Qatar.

Edited by Dr Amin Jaffer, Christie’s international director of Asian Art, the 412-page “Beyond Extravagance: A Royal Collection of Gems & Jewels” features essays on Indian jewelry by experts including chapters on Mughal jewelry by Dr Robert Skelton, former keeper of the Indian Department at the Victoria & Albert Museum, and Michael Spink, an expert on the techniques of Indian jewelry production. Dr Jack Ogden, a gemmologist and gem historian, has written on the use of precious stones in Indian jewelry, while Dr Katherine Prior, co-author of “Maharajas’ Jewels”, and Judy Rudoe, curator of the 1997 Cartier exhibition at the British Museum, have explored the encounter between Indian jewelry and the West. Jewelry writer Vivienne Becker adds meaning and relevance to the contemporary pieces in the collection.

Pieces of immense value that span over four hundred years have been lovingly photographed to bring the traditions of Indian jewelry to life. A necklace made by Cartier in 1928 for the Maharajah of Patiala, a 1910 Mughal Emerald “Aigrette” by Paul Iribé and a carved jade dagger owned by Shah Jahan, builder of the Taj Mahal, are among the book’s highlights.

“Beyond Extravagance: A Royal Collection of Gems & Jewels” is available for $250 from

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