SPLASHY STONES: The Victoria and Albert Museum in London is showing off its most precious stones in a show influenced by India. It includes 100 pieces — ranging from expensive rocks collected by 17th-century Mughal emperors to objects used in court ceremonies — from the Al Thani Collection owned by Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani.
“Bejewelled Treasures: The Al Thani Collection” also features three pieces borrowed from the Royal Collection on loan from Queen Elizabeth, including a bejeweled bird from the gold canopy of Tipu Sultan’s throne.
Other highlights include the Maharaja of Nawanagar’s Indian turban jewel created with large diamonds, a Golconda diamond given to Queen Charlotte by the Nawab of Arcot in South India in 1767, a Mughal jade-hilted dagger that belonged to the 17th-century emperor Shah Jahan — who built the Taj Mahal — and 20th-century Cartier jewelry. The show also features contemporary pieces designed by the artist-jeweler JAR and Bhagat of Mumbai.
“The overall theme of this exhibition is made in, or inspired by, India, that’s the thing that holds them all together,” Susan Stronge, senior curator of the V&A’s Asia department, told WWD. “One of the highlights of the collection is that it has a significant number of extraordinary, large unmounted precious stones alluding to the historic treasury of India. India has stones from all over the world, sapphires from Sri Lanka, rubies from Burma, emeralds from South America.”
The show is part of the V&A’s ongoing India Festival, an event marking 25 years of the Nehru Gallery of Indian Art at the museum. It runs until March 28.