A Small Gem from a Powerful Empire
by Simon Teakle on July 31st, 2010
The Moghul Empire of 1526-1857 was a period of unparalleled power, when wealth and Indian culture flourished — none more so than with its extraordinary supply of gems and jewelry. Not only did it provide some of the greatest gems known, but the legacy of style and design has influenced jewelry houses around the world ever since.
This influence was never stronger than during the Art Deco period, when all the great firms were intoxicated by all things Indian. In particular, the refashioning of older stones to contemporary objects was “de rigeur” for the old Indian royal families, as well as their Occidental cousins.
This Art Deco pendant is a perfect example of how Western taste became seduced by this genre. The small symmetrical platinum and diamond cap sits on top of a nineteenth century emerald bead of approximately 30.00 carats, exquisitely carved with foliate lotus motifs and delicate vertical fluting.
This carving is typical of the Moghul style, where naturalistic motifs would cover every possible area. Made in England in the 1920’s, it is a wonderful combination of simplicity and decoration, and is as wearable today as when it was first made.