Lot Content

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
A MAGNIFICENT AND HISTORIC EMERALD AND DIAMOND PENDANT BROOCH
VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price plus bu… Read more THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN 
A MAGNIFICENT AND HISTORIC EMERALD AND DIAMOND PENDANT BROOCH

MUGHAL, EMERALD EARLY TO MID 17TH CENTURY, BROOCH 1829

Details
A MAGNIFICENT AND HISTORIC EMERALD AND DIAMOND PENDANT BROOCH
Mughal, emerald early to mid 17th century, brooch 1829
The near circular convex emerald of exceptional colour and clarity weighing 55.8 carats with superb Mughal carving of tulips on both sides, the top and bottom with delicately carved protruding drill holes, the old-cut diamond scroll frame with a three-stone cluster above and below the carved emerald, suspending a detachable pierced drop-shaped emerald the drill hole set with a small diamond to the graduated frame terminating in three pear-shaped old-cut diamonds, mounted in silver and gold
3½in. (9cm.) long
Provenance
The 10th Duke of Northumberland, K.G., T.D., P.C., F.R.S (1914-1988) Sotheby's London, 20 April 1978, Lot 238

This jewel is presumably the "Emerald Brooch (antique engraved) with a Drop set in Brilliants" which was described in the list of family jewels dated 1836 in the will of Hugh Percy, 3rd Duke of Northumberland. His wife, Charlotte Florentia, was the daughter of Edward Clive, 1st Earl of Powis and Governor of Madras between 1798 and 1803, and grand-daughter of Clive of India. Robert Clive (1725-1774), 1st Baron Clive of Plassey, who was the famed Governor of Bengal and founder of British India, brought back to England a large fortune in gold and jewels. In a list of pieces to be re-set for Lady Clive in 1767 by the jewellers John and Peter Duval, several Indian items are mentioned as well as 'One Indian piece with a large Emerald'. D. Scarisbrick, Ancestral Jewels, Andre Deutsch, 1989, p. 92
Special Notice

VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price plus buyer's premium
Post Lot Text
END OF SALE

Lot Essay

As with most jewellery of the 19th century, this piece bears no signature but the 3rd Duke of Northumberland is known to have employed Rundell, Bridge & Rundell who were the jewellers to the Crown. Documents in Alnwick Castle relate to work being undertaken by the jewellers in 1824-6 and 1828-9. An account dated 17 March 1829 states "Setting a large Engraved Emerald with Her Grace's Brilliants in a Sevigne Brooch and furnishing 2 brilliants - £80".

The one coloured gem-stone that is today most associated with India is the emerald with the first examples dating back to the Mughal period. The present emerald is exceptional because of its transparency, purity and depth of colour and one can easily understand how these stones came to bewitch the great Mughal Emperors like Jahangir (1605-1627) or Shah-Jahan (1627-1659).

Ironically the best emeralds of the period were not Indian at all but originated in Colombia. The first Colombian emerald to be discovered by the Spanish was in 1537 and within thirty years they had found the highly productive Muzo and Chivor mines. The emeralds found their way to India via the Portuguese who had settled in Goa in the early 16th century and had extensive trade links with Spain. The Mughal Empire was founded by Babur in 1527 and by the latter half of the century the Portuguese were wanting trading concessions and so introduced jewels and emeralds to the Mughal Emperors. By the 17th century the master carvers in Jaipur were producing wonderful carved emeralds with floral motifs that were derived from the 17th century architecture, as well as to bring out the full colour and beauty of the stone.

The most popular way of wearing a large emerald such as this was to attach it to a string of pearls as a pendant. The present emerald does have a surmount, now disguised by the diamond mount, that could well have been used for this purpose.
;

More from Arts of India

View All
View All