The Grand Palais museum of Paris hosts this travelling exhibition with majestic jewellery and objects made for India’s royal rulers.
Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday 10am-8pm
1 May and 14 July closed.
The exhibition From the Great Mughals to the Maharajas: Jewels from the Al Thani Collection showcases jewels and bejewelled artefacts made in India, or directly inspired by the majestic and opulent culture of India’s royal rulers. Over 270 pieces from the Al Thani Collection, as well as objects on loan from private collections and institutions, evoke the splendour of India’s jewellery traditions housed in the magnificent setting of the Grand Palais.
Spanning imperial jewellery from the 17th century right up to the 20th century with pieces by Cartier, JAR and Bhagat, the exhibition is a full-immersion experience into India’s finest works of art.
The exhibition traces Indian jewellery traditions within the rich and complex culture of the court where it first originated, demonstrating how the profusion of stones and precious metals in the subcontinent led to the development of a sophisticated ornamental culture.
The Royal Treasury, where vast quantities of precious stones were originally stored, is the first room and visitors will find themselves surrounded by an exceptional group of dynastic gems, among which are the celebrated Agra, Idol’s Eye and Arcot II diamonds, all originating in India’s famous Golconda diamond mines.
In addition to intense red spinels, jade and rock crystal were appreciated at the Mughal court and define the second section of the exhibition, followed by the third section where the distinctive Kundan technique, in which gemstones are set directly into gold without prongs or mounts, is illustrated.
The fourth section focuses on regalia and jewellery for adornment with turban ornaments and spectacular diamond necklaces that capture the taste of the Maharajas in the British Raj.
In the following room, jewellery made by European houses for Indian princes or inspired by Indian taste are on display, including the enamel peacock aigrette made by Mellerio dits Meller and two of Jacques Cartier’s most dazzling creations for the Maharaja Digvijaysinhji.
The exhibition closes with pieces by Cartier and JAR set with historic Indian gems and the work of celebrated Mumbai jeweller Viren Bhagat.
A headdress in the shape of a peacock by Mellerio dits Meller, a turban decoration made by Jacques Cartier for the Maharaja Digvijaysinhji with a dazzling tiger’s eye and the stunning 28-carat intense pink Agra diamond.