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Maharaja of Indore Necklace

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Catalog Number NMNH G5113-00
Locality Colombia Ca.
Weight 45 ct

Gift of Mrs. Cora H. Williams in 1972.

The Maharaja of Indore Necklace consists of two strands of antique-cut diamonds and emeralds to which a lower pendant and upper chain containing modern, brilliant-cut diamonds were added. The necklace contains 374 diamonds and 15 emeralds. The emeralds undoubtedly came from Colombia, while the diamonds were obtained from India, the only source of diamonds until 1723. The large, central, barrel-shaped emerald weighs approximately 45ct and is strung onto the necklace through a hole drilled lengthwise down its center. Due to its rich color and exceptional clarity, it is one of the world’s finest emeralds. The remaining emeralds and 16 diamonds are attached in a similar fashion with wire passing through angled drill holes that connect within the stone forming a V-shaped channel. The stones were probably cut in India in the seventeenth century, making them some of the oldest cut gems in the National Gem Collection. The necklace was purchased by the Maharaja of Indore in the early twentieth century. In 1948, Harry Winston purchased the necklace from the Maharaja’s son. The necklace then became part of Winston’s “Court of Jewels” traveling exhibition. Cora Hubbard Williams of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania bought the necklace from Winston in 1955 and bequeathed it to the Smithsonian Institution in 1972.


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