A collection of jewels owned by an Indian royal family is set to go under the hammer, with the top piece set to sell for up to £70,000.
The collection, which will be auctioned by Bonhams at its Indian and Islamic sale in Bond Street on 19 April, is owned by a UK-based family who wish to remain anonymous and includes a South Indian marriage necklace, a jewel encrusted dagger and a diamond-set belt buckle.
The ‘manga malai’ necklace – one of the highlights of the collection – is composed of linked mango-shaped elements and is set with rubies and diamonds. It is estimated at £50,000-70,000.
Bonhams said the ‘manga malai’ was worn by women at special occasions such as weddings and also by traditional temple dancers (known as ‘devadasi’), who would dedicate their lives to the worship of temple deities in a manner akin to marriage.
A dagger – a gem-set enamelled piece decorated with gold, rubies and diamonds – has been estimated to sell for £30,000-50,000. It is believed to have been made in Rajasthan, known for its royal workshops and enamelling centres.
The sale will also include a rare belt buckle set with emeralds and diamonds, estimated at £18,000-£25,000, and a diamond-set armband which is estimated at £8,000-12,000.
Rukmani Kumari Rathore, specialist in Islamic and Indian art at Bonhams, said: “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.”