Monday, February 8, 2016

Muhgul "Bejewelled Treasures" & A Royal Jewel Theft, Madoff Jewelry Auction

There is an air of romance and great history when viewing the gems and jewels in the collection of Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani. Over 100 items are on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London until March 28th. Its a great opportunity to see this incredible historic items up close and personal~
Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani a simple man with a large collection of gems and jewels
The Mughal (or Mughol)  Empire was a period in India from 1526 until the British rule in 1857. During that time the generations of talented craftsman created unbelievable works of art crafted out of gold and numerous previous gemstones. The highly decorated items many of them for everyday use were created in jade, gold, silver and other various gemstones. At the Victoria and Albert Museum in London there is an exhibition that if you live within earshot, its a must for you go. But of course you have to have a love for exquisite Indian gems and jewels! The exhibit is aptly entitled "Bejewelled Treasures"and features over 100 opulently decorated items with precious gemstones and jade artifacts.  These magnificent items were used in elaborate court ceremonies. Mahrajas had an immense appetite for jewels and would contact the Houses of Cartier and other jewelers to create their pieces. Virtually every Indian Mahrajas would commission a state picture of them wearing their incredible jewels. And they loved their gems, jewels, ornate turban ornaments, multi rowed pearl and diamond necklaces etc. Its unimaginable the carat size of the stones~

Maharaja Yadavindra Singh of Patiala in 1940 an example of how Maharajahs wore their jewels, he is also the same Maharajah that Cartier created the largest necklace ever commissioned the 926cts Patiala Necklace 

The pieces range in date from the early 17th century to the present day, and were made in the Indian subcontinent or inspired by India. They include spectacular precious stones, jades made for Mughal emperors and a gold tiger-head finial from the throne of the South Indian ruler Tipu Sultan

The jade dagger that had once belonged to Emporer Jahangir, father to Shah Jahan
But first, who was Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani? He was born to the Qatar Royal family in 1896 in Qatar. In his rather short life he was able to amass the largest collection of historical Indian jewelry. Being a sheik, obviously has numerous benefits! His large collection consisted of over 400 pieces of jewelry and artifacts . One of his prized possessions was a 17th century jade dagger that had belonged to Emporer Jahangir and later his son. the Sha Jahan who built the Taj Mahal as a resting place for his wife. Other items include turban ornaments ( they are quite large and exquisite!) from 1875 to 1900. 
The gold tiger finial from South Indian ruler Tipu Sultan of Mysore throne, the only part left of his gold throne

A closer look at the gems and detail can visibly be seen on the finial
Tipu Sultan was one of the most powerful rulers of India. He was loved and hated in India as he is regarded both as a secular ruler who fought against British colonialism as well as an anti-Hindus. Opposing rebels had set fire to the church where his throne was housed. The tiger finial was the only remnant left of what must of been an incredible work of art.

Loved and hated by the people of India he was one of the countries most powerful rulers 

Possibly a turban ornament? Its breathtaking and very realistic!

 There are quite a few jewelry periods that are known for their craftsmanship and techniques, in my personal opinion the jewels made during the Mughul period are the most fascinating. Exceptionally large and rare gemstones used on a variety of items. It is truly spellbinding and a personal favorite~ 

Gold and gemstone inlaid temple spoon used for rituals

Craved emerald and sapphire pendant

Pearl , diamond and red spinel nose ring, at the time red spinel was as valuable as rubies

Seed pearl , polki diamonds and emerald earrings
Turban ornament with polki diamonds and red spinel ( the reverse is  Kundun and is painted)
A cane ornament, notice the huge diamond on top of his head~
Goodwood House known for the Festival of Speed, Lord March is the President of the British Automobile Racing Club and host several events at their estate
 Goodwood House is an estate located in the UK that had a break in that resulted in millions of dollars worth of historic and royal provenance jewels being taken during a brutal and terrifying break in at 4:30 am on January 13th. Lord and Lady March when Lady March  had awoken to a noise. After her husband investigated they were both pushed into the bedroom where the intruder forced Lady March to open the safe.Afterwards they were bound to a chair and were only released when one of their staff discovered them. How terrifying to be not only tied up but to have so many treasured heirlooms taken is just devastating~

Lord and Lady March of GoodWood House
Along with the historic ring, he escaped with 40 antique items including an 1820 diamond tiara worth around £400,000 and a 19th century diamond necklace worth £200,000.
Several high-value watches, including a Rolex and Girard-Perregaux, were also taken, along with emerald, diamond and sapphire rings, earrings, bracelets and necklaces.

 Every year the estate plays host to the Qatar Goodwood Festival, Festival of Speed, and the Goodwood Revival. There is currently a large reward being offered to capture the thief and to recover the missing heirlooms.
A diamond tiara dated from 1820 and valued at $800,000
An emerald and diamond ring given from Charles II to his mistress the Duchess of Portsmouth (the top of the stone is engraved with a family crest)

Since Bernie Madoffs arrest more than 7 years ago, the authorities are still trying to locate over $11 Billion that is still missing. To help recoup some of the missing funds, Gaston & Sheehan an Auction house in Texas is currently auctioning off 6 items of jewelry previously owned by Bernie and his wife Ruth. They are being auction online and the bidding ends on February 16th. The jewelry includes a multi row diamond bracelet, an emerald and diamond necklace along with two of Bernies Patek Phillipe watches. The bidding has started at a healthy point and can only increase.  But even at increments at $100 a time, it wont come close to cover the cost of the missing funds~

Ruth Madoffs emerald & diamond necklace, of Russian origin maybe?

One of two Patek Phillipe watches owned by Bernie Madoff
Since Bernies arrest, Ruth has been living a simpler life in Connecticut in a 989 square foot apartment and owns a Prius. She was able to make a deal with the government to keep $2.5 Million dollars. She has refused all press requests and avoids the spotlight. Ruth had lost her son Mark in 2010 to suicide and son Andrew in 2014 to cancer. Both sons were involved with the Madoff downfall. According to court records they are still currently married, since she was 18 years old.

Here is the link to the online auction,

                                                                   Keep sparkling, until next time~
400 pieces of jewelry and jeweled artifacts, whose origins range from the Mogul era to the 21st century - See more at:
400 pieces of jewelry and jeweled artifacts, whose origins range from the Mogul era to the 21st century - See more at: