The necklace features a large central stone along with five mirror-cut diamonds ranging from 16 to 28 carats, believed to have been owned by a Mughal emperor, with five emerald drops below.
Bonhams says the Mughal Mirror Diamond necklace is an extraordinary example of the colourless, rough diamonds discovered in the ancient Golconda mines that were reserved for royalty in India during the height of the Mughal Empire in the 16th and 17th centuries.
At 28 carats, the central stone is the largest known surviving mirror- or table-cut diamond, while the five diamonds are collectively the largest known matching set of table-cut diamonds from the Mughal 17th century.
Bonhams’ CEO and international head of jewellery Matthew Girling said: “The presentation of the Mughal Mirror Diamond necklace, containing five extraordinarily well matched mirror diamonds, is causing great excitement in the world of jewellery scholars as well as potential buyers.”
Weighing approximately 96 carats in total, the skilfully rendered diamonds were designed to emphasise the beauty of the diamonds without sacrificing their size; something that was of the utmost importance to Mughal emperors and Indian maharajas.
Many of India’s royal pieces of jewellery were subjected to the 19th and early 20th century fashion for replacing and recycling old jewels with new, western settings, and though the necklace had Columbian emerald drops added, its old setting remained intact – something Bonhams describes as remarkable.