Jewelry & Watches

The Al Thani Family Jewels: Inside The Jewelry Sale of the Century

The sale achieved $109 million, the highest ever for an auction of Indian jewelry and art.
IMAGE DESIGNED BY CASSIE SKORAS
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For weeks, the jewelry world breathlessly awaited the Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence auction at Christie's New York, wondering what extraordinary prices the Al Thani family's collection of Indian jewelry and jeweled objects would fetch. During a five-day public exhibition in New York, 1,500 visitors came in each day to admire the offerings. It was no surprise, then, that many speculated it would be the jewelry sale of the century—and when the results finally came in last night, it did not disappoint.

The collection achieved $109 million, the highest total for any auction of Indian art and jeweled objects, and the second highest auction total for a private jewelry collection (that top honor belongs to the sale of Elizabeth Taylor's collection, also by Christie's, in 2011.)

Jewels from the Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence Auction

THE NIZAM OF HYDERABAD NECKLACE


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Sold for $1,935,000. From the collection of the Nizams of India, circa 1850

A BELLE ÉPOQUE DIAMOND JIGHA


Sold for $1,815,000. India, 1907; remodeled circa 1935

GOLCONDA DIAMOND RIVIÈRE NECKLACE



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Sold for $2,415,000. Circa 1890, from the collection of the Nizam of Hyderabad

Nearly 400 lots were offered, from a stunning Golconda diamond rivière necklace that went for $2.4 million, to a diamond turban ornament fetched $1.8 million. The top lot was a Belle Époque devant-de-corsage by Cartier,

which sold for $10.6 million.

There were other notable records, like the Shah Jahan Dagger that sold for $3.3 million, establishing the record price for an Indian jade object and record for a piece with Shah Jahan provenance.

“This incredible collection traced the history of Mughal jewels and objects to present day. The auction of this notable collection represented a significant cultural moment for Indian and Islamic art," said William Robinson, International Head of World Art, Christie’s.

Didn't get a chance to bid on one of the pieces yourself? You can still see the some of the splendor—next year, other works of art from the Al Thani collection will be shown at a new museum space in Paris. 

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*This article originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com

*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors

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