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Jewel 1

Sapphire Turban Ornament (Jigha) or Brooch,

India circa 1920,
Platinum set with Sapphire and Diamonds
109.5 Carat Sapphire

Fresh from the stunning success of an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it appears that the Al-Thani collection of jewels and antiques are headed to London's Victoria and Albert Museum. While the exact contents of the show are yet to be determined, here are some of the stars from the recent show in New York City.

Jewel 2

Emerald Necklace from India, 19th century

Jewel 3

One of a pair of Bracelets, India, Varanasi, circa 1800-1825
Gold Set with diamonds, Enamel on the Reverse

Jewel 4

Necklace ( Kanthi), South Deccan, Hyderabad, 1870-1875
Gold Set with Diamonds, and Emeralds; Enamel
Eight brilliant cut Diamonds of 10 to 15 carats each

Jewel 5

Necklace (Kanthi), India probably Hyderabad, 1850-1900
Gold Set with Emeralds, Silver Set with Diamonds,

Pearls and String

 Jewel 6

Emerald Turban Ornament (Sarpesh)
and Brooch
Turban Ornament India, circa 1900
Clip on Reverse made by Cartier, Paris 2012
Gold and Silver Set with Emeralds and Diamonds
with Hanging Pearl

Jewel 7

Jeweled Crown with Birds of Paradise Feather Plume,
Nepal, Circa 1900
Pearls, colored Glass, diamonds, emeralds and rubies,
with Gold Brocade Ribs,
and Bird of Paradise Plumes

In a single showcase were a group of objects dating to the demise of Tippoo Sultan (1750-1799). Here readers of fiction may have an edge on students of history in recognizing a famous person. Tippoo was cast as a villain in one of the Richard Sharpe novels, and at the end of Sharpe's Tiger, Sharpe kills him to take Tippoo’s jewels as spoils of war in the Battle of Sengingapatam, in May 1799. The battle saw the British forces overcome a heavily defended bastion of the last Mysore ruler of south western India. Both the Islamic World and the native Indians likely have different views on this outcome. Anyhow, one of the Generals, David Baird, had suffered from a previous incarceration at the hands of Tippoo and likely did not behave too well in the aftermath of the assault. Once past the fictitious story of Sharpe and company helping themselves to the spoils of war, the real accounting of the Tippoo Sultan's inventory of valuables was so precise that it begs the question of the identity of a young Colonel serving alongside Generals Baird and Harris. An officer whose brother was the Earl of Mornington, Governor General of India, that young Colonel was Arthur Wellesley, later known as the Duke of Wellington. Wellington (a combination of Wellesley and Mornington) who would go on to great fame in India, Spain and at Waterloo, but one of his administrative achievements was imposing discipline where there had only been plunder.

Jewel 8

Tiger Finial from the Throne of Tippoo Sultan (1750-1799),

Mysore India, Circa 1790
Gold inlaid with Diamonds, Rubies and Emeralds

Jewel 9

Jewel Encrusted Dagger, Mysore, India, Circa 1790

Jewel 10

Dagger and Tippoo's Tiger Throne Finial, Mysore, India, 1790

Jewel 11

Ritual Spoon, South India, Circa 1800, Gold

Jewel 12

Tippoo Sultan's Magic Box,
Mysore, India, Circa 1789-1798, Gold,
Each of the twenty equilateral faces bears a number in Arabic
Used as common factors in Euclidean Geometry
Pioneered by the Ancient Greeks

Coming this fall:

Jewel 13

About the Author

Robert Alexander Boyle

Robert Alexander Boyle

 Alexander Boyle is a graduate of Trinity College, Hartford, CT where he majored in History. Prior to graduation he co-authored the seminal book Acid Rain in 1983. Alex has worked for the Metropo...