Mughal Emperor’s glasses auctioned at Sotheby’s

A pair of prized glasses, studded with diamonds and emerald Mughal Indian lenses, will be auctioned at the end of this month in London for an estimated £ 4million.

The artifacts, from an unknown princely treasure of the time, include a pair of diamonds named Halo of Light and a pair of emeralds named Gate of Paradise. These glasses will be auctioned for the first time by Sotheby’s at a price of between 1.5 and 2.5 million pounds each. They have remained in a private collection for almost half a century and will be on display in New York, Hong Kong and London.

The pair were said to have been commissioned by an unknown prince for whom an artist fashioned a diamond weighing over 200 carats and an emerald weighing at least 300 carats in two pieces. The auction house said there were no comparable examples of either of the known pieces.

In 1890, the glasses were placed in new frames and decorated with rose-cut diamonds. While there is no clarity on the original pattern for which these shows were made, they clearly belong to a period of artistic and architectural achievement such as the Mughal reigns of Emperors Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb. .

“The quality and purity of the gemstones is extraordinary and stones of this size would undoubtedly have been an emperor’s reserve. ‘India,’ said Edward Gibbs, president, Middle East and India for the auction house.

The pieces will be presented at Sotheby’s Arts of the Islamic World and India sale on October 27.

Of course, India has recently aroused great interest in the art world. Less than a year ago, a Vasudeo Santu Gaitonde sold for a record ??39.98 crore on the sale of Saffronart. The second highest art was a work by Amrita Sher-Gil who ??37.8 crores. Later this month, another painting by Sher-Gil titled Portrait of Mother is to go under the hammer. Its price is estimated between ??10 crores and ??15 crores.

Commenting on Mughal pieces, in a brief interview with Sotheby’s, art historian and writer William Dalrymple said it’s the lenses that set these objects apart. “There has been a technical study of these glasses by specialists and there is a high probability that they come from the Mughal era. It is a diamond and emerald slice through which one can seeing that they were created to be worn. The owner was taking an extraordinary risk because the original diamond that was split to create the lenses had to be between 200 and 300 carats, ”he explained.

The emerald comes from Colombia and has found its way to Goa. Jehangir and Shah Jahan were great connoisseurs of gemstones, he added.

Art curator and independent researcher Uma Nair said that the fact that it was commissioned by one of the emperors of the Mughal period is important and integral to its very existence. The Mughals stood out and stood out as patrons, trendsetters and monarchs who encouraged the best engravers, jewelers and artisans for the cascade of jewelry that adorned their treasure chests and jewelry boxes.

As an ornament and an object, this pair of glasses is an emblem of intensity and luxury. “In history, emeralds were said to be worshiped and acquired in large quantities. The historical provenance of these glasses is what is most vital for the sale. It also sheds light on the journey of the stones, how emeralds and the diamonds have been cleaved, as well as designed. This journey defines their historical authenticity in one of the greatest eras of gems connoisseur, “she said.

Gibbs said Indian artifacts are often the star of their sales. The bezels are unique, but the most relevant example of a major Mughal piece to cite for comparison would be the “Jahangir Emerald” sold by Sotheby’s for £ 1.9million on April 24, 2004.

The shows began their tour in New York City earlier this month, which was the first time they had been seen by audiences. They are currently on their way to Hong Kong, where they will be on display before heading to London for display ahead of the auction.

Sotheby’s was established in 1744 and promotes access, knowledge and preservation of fine art and rare items through auctions and buy-it-now channels, including private sales, e-commerce and sale by retail. The company has specialists in 40 countries in more than 50 categories which include contemporary art, modern and impressionist art, old masters, Chinese works of art, jewelry, watches, wines and spirits and interiors. In India, Sotheby’s held two auctions, the last of which was in 2019. The auction titled “Boundless India” had a 1974 painting “Untitled” by VS Gaitonde leading the lot.

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