“The jeweled arts of India have fascinated me from an early age and I have been fortunate to be able to assemble a meaningful collection that spans from the Mughal period to the present day”-emphasizes Sheikh Hamad Bin Abdullah Al-Thani-the representative of the dynasty of Qatar which dates back to 1825. Despite the fact that Al-Thani dynasty derives from Qatar, their main jewelry preferences lie in the philosophy of the Indian jewelry.
Current collection showcased in Victoria & Albert Museum in London features 100 inimitable masterpieces: Indian turban jewel made for the Maharaja of Nawanagar set with large diamonds; magnificent unmounted precious stones including a Golconda diamond given to Queen Charlotte by the Nawab of Arcot in 1767; Mughal jades including a jade-hilted dagger that belonged to the 17th century emperor Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal. Alongside these unique treasures there are three spectacular pieces loaned by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II: the bejewelled bird from the gold canopy of Tipu Sultan of Mysore’s throne, the ‘Timur Ruby’ and the Nabha Spinel.
The exhibit definitely can be devided into several sections like Treasury that features unique objects which belonged to Mughal emperors from 17th century; Court section with the jewels owned by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan; another section is dedicated to two important indian jewellery techniques: Kundan and enamelling. Historically the gem form favored throughout India has been the cabochon. In the traditional kundan technique, a gem is set within a bed of gold and often backed in foil to enhance its color. Enamelling was used, usually hidden from view on the back of ornaments set with diamonds, rubies, emeralds and other precious stones. These two techniques are still popular today in the art of making contemporary indian jewellery. The Age of Transition reveals an immediate impact of the West on Indian jewellery in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Modernity is all about transforming the influnece of Indian jewellery on the European jewellery design in the 1920-1930, when Parisian jewellery house Cartier reinterpreted traditional indian forms into Art Deco style and french designer Paul Iribe inspired by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes created original colour combination mixing indian cut emeralds and sapphires. The final section is devoted to two important Contemporary Masters: Paris based JAR, who creates one of a kind items inspired by Mughal architecture and Viren Bhagat from Mumbai in his turn selects old cut diamonds, rubies, emeralds, spinels and pearls making unique jewellery adornments in Art Deco style under the indian influence.
The real value of Al-Thani collection is its liveliness, sincere waywardness, ingenuity, literally striking national beauty that creates a true curiosity and admiration.
Royal Jeweller Wartski celebrates their 150th anniversary and a long association with the V&A Museum by sponsoring this exhibition which will held from 21 November 2015 to 28 March 2016.