Bonhams to sell private collection of Indian Temple Jewellery
Bonhams is about to sell an inspiring array of
Indian Temple Jewellery from the 17th, 18th,
and 19th centuries, all from one impressive private
collection. Each of the 28 pieces were used to ornament the Hindu
gods. As tributes to the deities, these works of art are
beautifully made of gold, diamonds and rubies combined with
centuries old Indian craftsmanship.
Estimated at a value between
£300,000 and £400,000, the 28-piece collection consists of a
mixture of temple treasury that includes brooches, earrings,
necklaces, pendants, hair braids and solid gold bulls set with
striking jewels. In Hindu mythology, many goddesses are described
as golden-hued, a beauty that literally never loses its lustre, and
this collection is testament to that idea. Alice Bailey, Head of
Bonhams Indian and Islamic Department, says: "The collection is in
immaculate condition. Its value lies in the wide variety, good
quality and sheer range of temple jewellery seen among these 
The relationship of jewellery such
as this to the deities, religion, and culture is intrinsically
linked. By adorning gods on special occasions such as
Shiva, Krishna and Nandi with these ornaments, it was thought to
bring good fortune. Sometimes there is a direct association between
a type of jewellery donated and a request from a deity. Women
desiring marriage or children often give bangles. Some of
these pieces were designed to be worn personally as a tribute to
the Hindu gods - devotional pieces such as the large variety of
braids in the collection.
The quality of the gold is
remarkable and is mostly 25 and 26 carats, as opposed to the 24
carats we are used to. But India's love affair with gold stretches
back across centuries and even millennia, including using these
much higher value golds. And it's not just the gold, but the
exquisite craftsmanship so evident in every one, not to mention the
stones themselves that include diamonds and rubies.
It's rare to be able to buy
jewellery with such fascinating history, and even rarer to have a
chance of owning jewellery quite literally intended for the Gods.
The collection will be sold through private treaty by Bonhams.