Transcript| 28 dec 2015
The Bejewelled Treasures exhibition at the V & A museum is a spectacular treasure trove magnificent jewels. There are over one hundred pieces of jewels, all inspired by India and some date back to the 17th century and it brings us right up to the modern day. And what you see here is a collection of jewels that show us some of the most fabulous diamonds, spectacular pearls and jaw-droppingly beautiful gemstones. I am going to go and take a look.
Sponsored by Wartski, the majority of the objects are from the private collection of Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani. This inspiring collection really captures the opulence of the courts of the Mughals, the splendid style of the maharajas and the beauty that India has inspired in contemporary jewels.
Also on show loaned by Her Majesty the Queen, are the famous Timur ruby, a royal carved gemstone and a magnificent jewelled bird that once adorned the throne of Tipu Sultan. Here are my favourite pieces from the exhibition.
This turban ornament of the Maharajah of Nawanagar from the 1930’s has over 150cts. of diamonds and it really captures the magnificence of the Indian rulers of the time and the fact that jewels were very much for men. The technique of Kudun setting and the art of enamelling is illustrated in these fabulous turban ornaments and this little parrot as well as these colourful bracelets showing how colour gems and enamel created rich effects highlighted with diamonds.
Moving through time these jewels show us how India influenced European jewellers and vice versa. Here we see the work of famous designers such as Paul Iribe who created this spectacular emerald brooch in 1910. Iribe was in fact a decade ahead of his time as he anticipated the Art Deco style that was to later become so popular. This flamboyant peacock by Mellorio dits Meller was worn in the hair by its owner Anita Delgado, the young wife of the Raja of Kapurthala. We see taste of the maharajas for the new styles of Parisian jewels and they often brought their gems to be reset in the new fashion by the jewellers of the Place Vendome. The colours of India are evident in these vibrant jewels and in famous stones such as the Berenice emerald set by Cartier in 1925. This ruby and diamond choker created for the Maharajah of Patiala in 1931.
This exhibition also offer the rare chance to see some exceptional work by contemporary masters such as JAR and Mumbai-based Bhagat. This brooch by Bhagat was made in 2014 and inspired by a design of inlaid marble from a royal tomb in Agra. Pieces by JAR include two emerald brooches, an emerald and pearl ring and these spinel and pearl earrings.
The show finishes on a high with the Star of Golconda brooch made by Cartier in 2011 with an impressive 57ct. pear shaped Golconda diamond.
The exhibition runs until the 28th March so don’t miss the chance to see these incredible jewels that will take your breath away.