FORMERLY THE PROPERTY OF HER HIGHNESS MAHARANI SITA DEVI OF BARODA
The Indian Wallis Simpson. This is what Her Highness Maharani Sita Devi of Baroda was known as because of her second marriage to the Maharaja Pratapsingh Gaekwar, her passion for jewels and her strong personality.
She received jewels from the Baroda treasury that dated back to Mughal times. These included a magnificent seven-strand natural pearl necklace and a superb three-row diamond necklace that suspended the Star of the South diamond of 128.80 carats and the English Dresden of 78.53 carats.
She also received innumerous other Indian jewels from Pratapsingh Gaekwar and it was from these that she extracted the emerald and diamond beads to have them mounted by Van Cleef & Arpels. In 1949 Sita Devi commissioned the celebrated jeweller to create the most magnificent fringe necklace and pair of ear-pendants.
Completed towards 1950, the jewel, christened 'The Hindou Necklace' by Van Cleef & Arpels, comprised a fringe of thirteen emerald drops weighing an approximate total of 150 carats. Suspended from a panel of pavé-set diamonds and decorated with fluted emerald beads, the entire design originated from these Mughal-cut beads and helped transform the gem-stones into a fluid lotus flower.
The ear-pendants comprising polished octagonal and drop-shaped emeralds each suspend a diamond briolette weighing approximately 20 carats. As per a mystical Indian belief, these precious stones set within a circle are meant to gather and radiate cosmic energies to favour the one that they adorn.
The Hindou Necklace first appeared for sale in Monte Carlo on 16 November 1974 through an auction organised by the Crédit Mobilier of Monaco where the Maharani had been residing since the 1960's. Since then it has remained in private hands. At Christie's in Geneva a new owner shall begin another episode adding to the history and allure of a most glamorous jewel.
Christie's would like to thank Van Cleef & Arpels for supplying us with valuable information concerning the history on the Baroda emerald necklace and ear-pendants.