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Bonhams to offer jewels from an Indian royal family

A collection of Indian royal jewels is set to cross the auction block at Bonhams later this month.
Having remained in the private collection of an anonymous Indian royal family for generations, the items – which include a South Indian marriage necklace and a jewel encrusted dagger – will now be sold as part of Bonhams’ forthcoming Indian and Islamic sale.

"This is a treasure trove," said Rukmani Kumari Rathore, specialist in Islamic and Indian art at Bonhams. "They are magnificent examples of 18th and 19th century craftsmanship and provide a wonderful opportunity to purchase an heirloom once owned by Indian royalty."

The collection will be led by a South Indian marriage necklace known as a ‘manga malai’ necklace. The necklace features a mango garland design worn by women at weddings in southern India, where the mango is regarded as a symbol of love and fertility.

With similar examples found in both the David Collection in Copenhagen and the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, this lavish ruby and diamond-encrusted necklace is expected to sell for £50,000-£70,000 ($71,440-$100,000).

Another stunning piece is an elaborate 18th century dagger, decorated with gold, rubies and diamonds. Believed to originate from Rajasthan, known for its royal workshops and enamelling centres, the dagger features a 17th century Ottoman double-edged watered steel blade and is estimated at £30,000-£50,000. ($42,860-$71,400).

The collection also includes a rare belt buckle set with emeralds and diamonds, and estimated at £18,000-£25,000 ($25,717-$35,718) and a delicate armband featuring a central octagonal diamond motif, valued at £8,000-£12,000 ($11,430-$17,145).

The Bonhams Indian and Islamic sale takes place at New Bond Street in London on Tuesday April 19.

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