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Maharaja & The Splendor of India’s Royal Court

Though the London exhibit is officially over, the photographs live on! The exhibition, “Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts,” which took place at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London several months ago, focused on the “the colonial years when the Indian princes, deprived by the British of their absolute rule, could concentrate on the decorative things in life.”

Pictured above is the Maharaja of Patiala, wearing a diamond and platinum parade necklace created by Cartier in 1928.

Pictured above is the Maharaja Sir Sri Krishnaraja Widiyar IV Bahadur of Mysore, 1906, by K Keshavayya.

The jewels in the exhibition are the most poignant not just because in some cases, like the mighty Cartier Patiala necklace (pictured above), the gems that were sold to keep impoverished princes afloat have been replaced with substitute stones. Its because the show closes an era when the male peacock finally folded its wings.

Photo: N. Welsh-Cartier

Pictured above is the Watson Turban Jewels from mid-18th Century. A replica of this jewel is on sale in the Victoria and Albert museum shop.