Royal heirlooms, including ‘manga malai’, up for auction

A collection of jewels, including a fabulous ‘manga malai’ that has been with an Indian royal family for generations will go under the hammer later this month at international auction house Bonhams’ Indian and Islamic art sale.
Royal heirlooms, including ‘manga malai’, up for auction
The jewels are magnificent examples of exquisite craftsmanship


The UK-based family will be parting with a number of treasures on April 19 that have been in its possession for generations, including a ‘manga malai’, a jewel encrusted dagger, and extravagant princely jewels such as an emerald and diamond-set belt buckle. 
“This is a treasure trove. They are magnificent examples of 18th and 19th century craftsmanship and provide a wonderful opportunity to purchase an heirloom once owned by Indian royalty,” said Rukmani Kumari Rathore, specialist in Islamic and Indian art at Bonhams. 
The ‘manga malai’ lavishly set with rubies and diamonds, is estimated at 50,000-70,000 pounds. The “mango garland” design is unique to southern India, where the mango is regarded as a symbol of love and fertility, Bonhams said in a statement. 
The dagger is an impressive gem-set enamelled piece decorated with gold, rubies and diamonds. The hilt is of a type rarely produced in Mughal India and finds comparison with 18th century Persian daggers of similar form. It was probably made in Rajasthan, known for its royal workshops and enamelling centres carrying on the Mughal tradition of superlative quality enamelling.
Also among the princely family’s treasures is a rare belt buckle set with emeralds and diamonds and estimated at 18,000-25,000 pounds. The front is set with precious stones and the reverse exquisitely enamelled in green colours with elegant floral motifs. A delicate yet magnificent armband will also feature in the auction.

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