Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Napoleon’s Talisman


It made $2m at auction.
Napoleon’s talisman was commissioned in 1800 after his Egyptian campaign. The talisman was lost in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. During his retreat from the battlefield, his abandoned personal carriage was captured by a Prussian major. Deeply superstitious, Napoleon spent two years planning the intricate design of the jewels in the piece. Napoleon’s sphinx was dug up just after WWII in Noordwijk in the Netherlands, around 200 km from the Waterloo Battlefield.
The jewels are arranged in a secret code. The pattern of 21 rubies and a blank hole correlates to the ancient Egyptian Tarot code. This Tarot code had its genesis in the Egyptian mystery schools of approximately 1500 BC. The Tarot code was based on a numbered system of 21. The crystal sphinx has both Napoleon Bonaparte’s and Josephine Bonaparte’s initials coded into the design.

Tuesday, 25 January 2022

The Mughal Empire in Gold and Gems

The Mughals were descendants of the Central Asian conqueror Timur (known in the West as Tamerlane) and the Mongol ruler, Genghis Khan. The Mughal Empire, which at its peak spanned modern-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, was established by Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur, who invaded India in 1526.

The Mughals ruled for over three centuries before the arrival of the British in 1858.



The Timur ruby (also Khiraj-i-alam, "Tribute to the World") is an unfaceted, 361-carat polished red spinel gemstone set in a necklace in 1853

Crown of the Emperor Bahadur Shah II, the last Mughal emperor. 1850. Gold, turquoises, rubies, diamonds, pearls, emeralds.

Carved emerald circular box. Mughal India circa 1635.

Turban ornament. 1700-1750. Wearing plumes in a turban indicated royal status in Mughal India.
Treasures were encrusted with rubies, diamonds and emeralds and set in gold using the kundan technique, a typically Indian method of setting gemstones without the use of bezels and prongs.

Emerald is 217.80 carats and dates to 1695-1696. It is the largest inscribed Mughal emerald known.

Kundan set eagle pendant. Rubies, diamonds, pearls, enamel.

Mughal parrot finger ring (c.1600–1625) It is set with rubies, emeralds, diamonds and a single sapphire.

Bird Finger Ring (17th century). Gold, rubies, emeralds, turquoises.
The reign of Shah Jahan, the fifth emperor, was the golden age of Mughal architecture. He erected several large monuments, the most famous of which is the Taj Mahal at Agra, as well as the Moti Masjid, Agra, the Red Fort, the Jama Masjid, Delhi, and the Lahore Fort.

The Mughal Empire reached it's zenith during the reign of Aurangzeb.
Pendant in the form of an eagle, 18th century. Gold, cast and chased, set with foiled diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires in gold.

Gold and enamel belt buckle in two pieces with inlaid diamonds. Enamel decoration on reverse of tiger attacking a boar. Rectangular element with small round ring through which oblong ring fits. Hook is attached to this. Enamel tiger attacking a deer in foliage on reverse.

Gold, pearl, ruby, diamond and enamel squatting duck on a stand.
Gold and enamel figurine of an elephant with large natural baroque pearl forming its back and diamonds on its head.
A carved emerald flask with stopper, India, circa 18th century. The body of faceted hexagonal form, cut and carved on each face with a floral stem, the stopper carved with eight stylised leaves and a star design to the top.

Dress archery ring of Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan. Second quarter of the 17th century. Gold set with carved and polished uncut diamonds, rubies and emeralds.
An Imperial Mughal spinel necklace with eleven polished baroque spinels for a total weight of 1,131.59 carats. Three of the spinels are engraved. Two with the name of Emperor Jahangir (1569-1627), one with the three names of Emperor Jahangir, Emperor Shah Jahan and Emperor Alamgir, also known as Aurangzeb.

Portrait of Mumtaz Mahal (Arjumand Banu Begum). She was the favourite wife of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. She died shortly after giving birth to her fourteenth child in 1631. The following year the emperor began work on the mausoleum that would house her body. The result was the world-famous Taj Mahal.
A Mughal masterpiece. The necklace features five pendant Golconda diamonds with emerald drops. The central stone weighs 28 carats and is the largest table-cut diamond known. The five surrounding stones—weighing 96 carats, collectively—comprise the largest known matching set of table-cut diamonds. From the 17th century.

A rare Mughal pale green jadeite snuff bottle. 1800-1900. The translucent stone is of pale icy green tone. 2 in. (5 cm.) high, pink tourmaline stopper and bone spoon.

Monday, 24 January 2022

Famous Diamonds

The Blue Empress is a spectacular 14 carat, symmetrical pear-shaped, fancy vivid blue diamond. The stone was mined at the Premier Diamond Mine in South Africa and was purchased from De Beers by the Steinmetz Group. It was first offered for sale by London’s Harrods in 2003 for £10 million.
The 67.50-carat, cushion-cut Black Orlov is named black but is the colour of gun metal. Like the story behind the famous Hope diamond, legend has it that the Black Orlov was an uncut black stone of 195 carats, pried out of the eye (forehead) of the statute of the sacred Hindu God Brahma from a temple in Southern India. The diamond turned up in Russia, where it was bought by Princess Nadia Vyegin Orlov. It was purchased in 1947 by Charles F Winson who sold it to an unknown buyer in 1969 for $300,000.
The Paragon Diamond is one of the more unusually shaped diamonds. It is a 7 sided diamond that measures 137.82 carts and is rated a flawless D in color. The necklace currently belongs to the Graff Company and is set in combination necklace - bracelet setting.

The gem was mined in Brazil.
The Donnersmarck Diamonds are two yellow diamonds, named after their one time owner Henckel von Donnersmarc. One, a baguette-shaped diamond weighing 102.54 carats, was sold for $3.246 million.

The second, tear drop in shape and weighing 82.48 carats, was sold for $4.666 million.
The Sun-Drop Diamond at 110 carats is the world’s largest yellow diamond. It sold at auction for $10.91m in 2011.

It was found in South Africa in 2010. The stone was cut as a Pear Brilliant, also called Drop Cut.
The Kazanjian Red Diamond is an extraordinary 5.05-carat red gem on temporary display in the Museum's Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems. Red diamonds are the rarest among colored diamonds. Only three 5-carat red diamonds are known to exist: the Kazanjian Red diamond, the trilliant-cut 5.11-carat Moussaieff Red, and the 5.03-carat De Young Red.

The original 35-carat piece of rough was discovered in Lichtenburg, South Africa
The Spoonmaker's Diamond is a 86 carat pear-shaped diamond, pride of the Imperial Treasury exhibitions at the Topkapi Palace Museum, Tehran.