Indian Jewels from the V&A (12) - This wonderful jigha and accompanying sarpati, is typical of the Indian jewels made in Murshidabad, the capital of Bengal and dates from the middle of the 18th century. These two pieces were presented to Admiral Charles Watson, after the battle of Plassey on 26 July 1757 by the Nawab of Bengal. They remained in the family of Admiral Watson until they were purchased at auction by the museum in 1982. Jigha height 16.9cm, sarpati width 10.6cm.
This is the last past post in our series of Indian Jewels from the V&A. I would like to thank the museum for most generously letting me examine and photograph these fascinating jewels and of course a big thank you to Nick Barnard (curator of the Asian Department of the V&A) for our fascinating time chatting about these great pieces. Although I value all types of jewels from every period and many cultures, I have always had a great interest in Indian jewels, since the first collection of royal Indian jewels that I organised in Geneva in 1992. I would encourage you to visit the V&A, which houses one of the finest public jewellery collections in the world.
This remarkable emerald weighing 75.61 carats once belonged to Empress Catherine the Great of Russia. The stone was originally a rectangular shape weighing 107.67 carats and later re-cut to a pear-shape to improve its clarity. In 1796 it passed to Tsar Paul I who owned it from 1796 to 1801, then Tsar Alexander I from 1801 to 1825, Tsar Nicholas I 1825 to 1855, Tsar Alexander II 1855 to 1874, Grand Duchess Vladimir 1874 to 1920, Grand Duke Boris 1920 to 1927, Cartier 1927 to 1954, John D Rockefeller Jr from 1964 and then changing hands several times until today in the collection of a distinguished private collector. Estimate $2.3-3.5m. Magnificent Jewels, Geneva 15 May.