The Taj Mahal/Nur Jahan Diamond

Origin of Name

The historic 17th-century, heart-shaped, table-cut, Indian diamond inscribed in the Persian Language with Arabic characters, leaves no doubt about the date of origin of the diamond and its original owner. The inscription reads, "Nur Jahan Begum Padshah; 23; 1037." Thus,the original owner of this diamond and jade pendant was Empress Nur Jahan, the third and most favorite wife of Mughal Emperor Jahangir Shah, who ruled India fom 1605 to 1627, and the "power behind the throne" after her marriage to Jahangir Shah in 1611. Emperor Jahangir commissioned the artisans of the Mughal court to design this beautiful diamond and jade pendant and got it inscribed with the name of his favorite wife Nur Jahan, and presented it to her as a token of his great love and esteem for her, in the year 1037 A.H. (After Hijra) in the Islamic Calendar, equivalent to 1627/1628 in the Gregorian calendar, which was the last year of his 22 year rule. 22 years in the Gregorian calendar is almost equal to 23 years in the Islamic Lunar calendar, which explains the number 23 in the middle of the inscription. It is not known whether Nur Jahan was ever able to wear this beautiful pendant, as soon after Jahangir Shah's death in October 1627, his third son by Rajput princess Gossaini, and Nur Jahan's stepson, Prince Khurram ascended the Mughal throne as Shah Jahan. One of the first acts of Shah Jahan as emperor was to eliminate all his brothers and cousin brothers who could pose a challenge to his rule, and place his step-mother Nur Jahan under house arrest for supporting the claim of his younger brother Shariyar to the throne, who in fact ascended the throne for a short period before Shah Jahan, but was later defeated, blinded and put to death. Nur Jahan's life was spared as Asaf Khan, Shah Jahan's father-in-law and most trusted ally in the power struggle, who was appointed prime minister of the Mughal empire, was her own brother. Nur Jahan was given an annual pension of two hundred thousand rupees and lived in her palace in Lahore until her death in 1645 at the age of 72 years.

It appears that after the succession struggle that followed the death of Jahangir Shah, and the confirmation of Shah Jahan as the new emperor, Nur Jahan's diamond and jade pendant was either voluntarily surrendered to the Mughal treasury and subsequently gifted by Shah Jahan to his most beloved and devoted wife Mumtaz Mahal, or Nur Jahan herself on her own accord gifted it to her loving niece Mumtaz Mahal, her own brother's daughter. There is no direct evidence that Empress Mumtaz Mahal ever wore this historic diamond and jade pendant, but given the pomp and pagentary associated with Shah Jahan's court, the most brilliant in the history of the Mughal empire, it was highly probably that she did, during her tenure as empress from January 1628 until her untimely death in 1631, while giving birth to her 14th child in their 19 years of marriage. It is said that Shah Jahan was totally devastated by the death of his most favorite and beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, that he refused food for eight days and went into secluded mourning for almost an year. It was in memory of his beloved wife, Shah Jahan commissioned the grand mausoleum known as the Taj Mahal, whih took 20,000 labourers more than 20 years to complete (1632 to 1653). The Nur Jahan diamond and jade pendant subsequently came to be known as the Taj Mahal diamond and jade pendant, probably because it was earlier believed to be a gift by Emperor Shah Jahan himself to his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, and just as much as the Taj Mahal was a symbol of Shah Jahan's undying love for Mumtaz Mahal, the heart-shaped diamond and pendant was also believed to be a memento of the Emperor's eternal love for his beloved wife.

Taj Mahal Diamond and Jade Pendant and Necklace

Taj Mahal Diamond and Jade Pendant and Necklace

© Christies


The Taj Mahal - Photo by David Castor

The Taj Mahal - A symbol of Shah Jahan's eternal love for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal - Photo by David Castor


Portraits of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal

Portraits of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal

Characteristics of the diamond and jade pendant

Design features of the pendant

The Taj Mahal pendant, a product of the skill and perfection achieved by the jewelry craftsmen and artisans of the Mughal period of India, which reached a zenith during the reign of Shahanshah Shah Jahan, has as its centerpiece, the heart-shaped, table-cut Taj Mahal diamond mounted on a grey colored thick jadeite mount, also roughly heart-shaped and mounted on an enameled-gold backing; the slab of jade being secured to the setting right round by the bent edges of the gold backing, like a bezel setting. Surrounding the heart-shaped table-cut Taj Mahal diamond, after leaving a small gap on the jade mount, is another heart-shaped zone set with a single row of red gemstones. The red gemstones appear to be spinels (balas rubies), that were available in large quantities during the 17th-century and were sourced mainly from the Badakshan mines of Afghanistan. The cut on these spinels, appear to be simple rectangular table-cuts, an ancient cut employed before the development of more advanced cutting styles, with crown, pavilion, girdle and multiple facets. The rectangular spinels are placed end to end, without a gap and appear to be set on the jade mount by bezel settings. Bent gold edges run right round the two edges of the red gemstone zone similar to the outer edge of the pendant. The thick slanting edge of the heart-shaped jadeite mount, are mounted on either side, with six rhomboidal table-cut diamonds, bezel set with bent gold edges right round. The entire metal backing for the pendant is enamelled-gold. The reverse of the pendant is decorated with an enamel latticework motif. Provision for the suspenion of the pendant by a silk cord has been made in the form of two loops or rings in gold originating from the upper end of the pendant.

 

Close-up of Taj Mahal Diamond and Jade Pendant

Close-up of Taj Mahal Diamond and Jade Pendant

© Christies

Originally, the pendant was suspended by two silk chords that was tied around the neck, like other famous Indian necklaces eg. Ceylon Pearl Necklace, and Nizam of Hyderabad Satlada Pearl Necklace and Umm Kulthum's 9-stranded Pearl Necklace.

The silk chord is now replaced by a gold and ruby neckchain designed by Cartier in 1972 in the style of the original woven silk chord. The gold woven neckchain is set with cabochon rubies and old mine-cut diamonds. The cabochon-cut rubies are encrusted on gold bands placed at certain intervals on the chains. The first two gold bands are placed at the two points where the silk cords are supposed to be knotted to the pendant. Just a few inches away from these two knots, are placed two other ruby encrusted bands seperately around each chain. A little more than half way up the two chains, one can see, a single almost spherical ruby encrusted band, through which both chains pass. This appears to be an adjustable band that can vary the length of the chains to suit the requirements of the wearer. The longest length of the chain is 17.5 inches. At the end of the two chains a single ruby-encrusted, flower vase shaped, gold band is placed, from which arises a bunch of small gold chains, each ending in a cabochon ruby, representing woven silk threads in the original.

Characteristics of the Taj Mahal diamond

The Taj Mahal diamond is a heart-shaped, table-cut, flat diamond, known technically as Lasque. The table-cut or lasque is an ancient Indian cut, in which the diamond was cut in the form of a thin slab or sheet, of different shapes and sizes, such as rectangular, square, heart-shaped, pear-shaped etc. In a lasque, only the upper surface could be polished, as in the Taj Mahal diamond, or both the upper and lower surfaces were polished, as in portrait diamonds used to cover miniature portraits. The color of the diamond appears to be white, and hence the diamond is most probably a Type IIa diamond, which are absolutely colorless, and have color grading of D to F. The clarity of the diamond is not known, and may not be relevant as the diamond is inscribed. The weight of the diamond is also not known, as the diamond is mounted on its jade setting, and cannot be removed.

Explanation of the Persian Language inscription in Arabic characters

The Persian Language inscription with Arabic characters on the diamond, covers almost the entire surface of the diamond. The inscription has three entries, which translated into English reads as follows :- "Nur Jahan, Begum Padshah; 23; 1037" - Nur Jahan, Lady of the Padshah; 23; 1037"

The reference to Nur Jahan, Begum Padshah, is undoubtedly a reference to Empress Nur Jahan, the powerful, influential and most favorite wife of Emperor Jahangir Shah, the "Power behind the throne" so to speak. Mughal Emperor Jahangir ruled India for 22 years, from 1605 to 1627.

The entry 23, refers to the year of rule of Jahangir Shah, which is the 23rd year according to the Lunar Islamic Calendar, and 22nd year according to the Gregorian calendar. A lunar year is 11 days shorter than a solar year. Thus 22 solar years will be equal to 22 lunar years + 22x11 days = 22 lunar years + 242 days of the 23rd lunar year. Hence 22 solar years is almost equal to 23 lunar years.

The entry 1037 refers to the year the entry was made according to the Islamic calendar - i.e. 1037 A.H.(After Higra). 1037 A.H. in the Islamic calendar is equivalent to 1627/1628 A.D. in the Gregorian calendar according to the following calculation :-

Using Hodgson's formula, G= H - H/33 + 622, where G and H represent the Hijra and Gregorian years.

G = 1037 - 1037/33 + 622

G = 1037 - 31 + 622 = 1628 A.D.

Hence 1037 A.H. = 1627/1628 A.D. as some months of the Islamic year 1037 falls in 1627 and other months in 1628.

 

History

Jewelry designig and crafting became a highly skilled and refined art during the golden period of Mughal rule in India

The diamond and the pendant are undoubtedly of early 17th-century origin as indicated by the inscription, and belong to the Mughal period of India, when jewelry designing and crafting became a highly skilled and refined art, attaining new heights, under royal patronage. The Mughal period in India is considered as the golden period in the history of India, during which the arts, architecture, literature and other cultural activities flourished. The greatest legacy of this period is undoubtedly the world renowned Taj Mahal, a mausoleum built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal, an architectural marvel, that still ranks among the seven wonders of the world. The courts of the Mughal emperors, were renowned for their extraordinary brilliance - unrivalled by any royal court in the east or the west, except perhaps for the courts of the Ptolemies in Alexandria, in history, during the 4th to 1st century B.C.- due to the excessive use of precious metals, like gold and silver and precious and semi-precious stones, like diamonds, pearls, rubies, sapphires, emeralds etc. not only as ornaments adorning the person of the emperor, the empress, members of the royal family, and nobles, but also for encrusting and decorating the thrones, carpets and sometimes even the walls of the court. To maintain the brilliance of their courts, the Moghul emperors set up a vibrant jewelry industry, employing thousands of artisans and jewelry craftsmen, and supported and patronized all branches of the industry, such as Jewelry crafting, cutting and polishing of gemstones and diamonds, and carving and engraving of gemstones like emeralds, and inscribing of diamonds with Arabic characters. Carved emeralds of this period is a testimony to the high degree of precision achieved in this art during this period, eg. Moghul Emerald, and Emeralds of the Programa Royal Collections.

 

Inscribing of diamonds with Arabic characters during this period has baffled modern day diamond cutters and polishers, who use fullerite or laser technology today for inscribing diamonds

However, one of the greatest achievements of the Mughal craftsmen of this period that has puzzled modern day diamond cutters and polishers in the western world, is how these craftsmen were able to engrave Arabic inscriptions on diamonds, which modern day diamond cutters and polishers are able to do only with a fullerite pen or laser technology. The technology involved in this process had remained a secret and had not been passed on to the future generations and hence lost forever. Had it been passed to diamond cutters of the west during that period, today we would have seen many famous diamonds with inscriptions in one or more western languages, such as English, French, German, Spanish etc. However, there is not single famous diamond from the past, in the west, that has been inscribed, whereas there are at least three famous Indian diamonds, all from the Mughal period, inscribed with Arabic characters. These are, the Taj Mahal diamond, the subject of this webpage, the Akbar Shah-Jahangir Shah Diamond and Shah Diamond . The significance of such inscriptions on diamond, is the realization that such great monarchs in the past were fully aware of the everlasting porperty of diamonds, and hence regarded it as an ideal medium to immortalize their names and their period of rule, more potent than inscriptions on other media, such as granite, that were liable to disintegrate with age.

Shah diamond, inscribed in Arabic with the names of three rulers of different periods and kingdoms

Shah diamond, inscribed in Arabic with the names of three rulers of different periods and kingdoms


Another view of the Shah diamond in the Kremlin Diamond Fund, showing two inscribed facets

Another view of the Shah diamond in the Kremlin Diamond Fund, showing two inscribed facets


The Nur Jahan diamond pendant designed and created at the tail end of the rule of the mighty Mughal emperor Jahangir Shah is a symbol of the true love and affection that existed between them and their infatuation for one another during their married life.

Jahangir Shah died on October 28, 1627, when he was returning to Lahore with his wife Nur Jahan, after his annual vacation to Kashmir, undertaken every year to escape the scorching heat of Lahore in the summer. October 28, 1627, is approximately equivalent to 19th Safar, 1037 A.H. in the Islamic calendar, ie. the 19th day of the second month in the Islamic calendar. 1037 A.H. was the 23rd year of his rule and he ruled for less than two months of this year, which he spent on vacation with his wife, Nur Jahan, at Kashmir. Thus, the entry 1037 A.H. on the Taj Mahal diamond, most probably represent the year the design of the pendant was completed. Obviously, the order for the design of the pendant must have been given by the emperor, long before his departure to Kashmir, before the onset of summer in 1036 A.H. However, given the fact that Jahangir Shah was battling serious addiction to alcohol and opium throughout his reign, and his wife Nur Jahan wielded imperial authority on behalf of her husband, ruling with an iron fist, giving audiences at the palace, and the ministers consulting with her on most matters, and even striking coins in her name with the permission of her husband, it is highly probable that the order for the design of the Taj Mahal pendant came from Empress Nur Jahan herself, with or without the permission of the emperor. Nevertheless, this unique creation at the tail end of the rule of a mighty Mughal emperor, whose wife wielded power on behalf of her husband, is a symbol of the couple's infatuation for each other, and the true love and devotion that existed between them. Thus, it appears that even though the Nur Jahan pendant was designed and created before the death of Emperor Jahangir Shah, Empress Nur Jahan was not able to wear it as an empress, because she was out in Kashmir, vacationing with her husband, and returned to Lahore only with the dead body of her husband.

1617-Portrait of Jahangir Shah by Abu'l Hasan, Nadir al-Zaman

1617-Portrait of Jahangir Shah by Abu'l Hasan, Nadir al-Zaman


Idealized Portrait of Empress Nur Jahan

Idealized Portrait of Empress Nur Jahan - Most favorite wife of Jahangir Shah and the "power behind the throne" during his rule


The Nur Jahan pendant was created during a tumultous period in the History of the Mughal empire

Thus, the Nur Jahan Pendant appears to have been designed and created during a tumultous period in the history of the Mughal empire. Soon after the death of Jahangir Shah, a succession struggle broke out between his children, the main aspirants to the throne being Shah Jahan, Jahangir's second son by his Rajput wife, Gossaini, who had distinguished himself in the battle field, by defeating the Lodi in the Deccan in 1617, and the combined forces of Ahmednagar, Bigapur and Golconda in 1622, and Shahryar, the youngest son of Jahangir by a royal concubine. Ironiclly, while Shah Jahan was supported in the succession struggle by his father-in-law, and Nur Jahan's brother, Asaf Khan, Shahryar was supported by his powerful mother-in-law, Empress Nur Jahan herself, whose daughter by her first husband, Ladli Begum, he married. In fact Shahryar ascended the Mughal throne at Lahore, as desired by Empress Nur Jahan, soon after the death of the emperor became public knowledge, after the arrival of his embalmed corpse in Lahore, on November 8, 1627, though the emperor had died previously on October 28, and the news of his death had been kept a secret.

Immediately after ascending the throne, Prince Shahryar took charge of the royal treasury, and distributed over 70 lakhs of rupees among the nobles, to secure their support for his throne. Meanwhile, when the news of Emperor Jahangir Shah's death reached Agra, Asaf Khan proclaimed Dawar Baksh, the grandson of Jahangir by his eldest son Khusrau Mirza, as emperor. This, was a tactical move to save the throne of Shah Jahan. Asaf Khan now moved with an army to Lahore, to oust Shahryar who had been put on the throne by Empress Nur Jahan. He met and defeated the forces of Shahryar outside Lahore, arrested Shahryar and produced him before Dawar Baksh, who placed him in confinement, but soon afterwards was blinded by Asaf Khan, on the instructions of Shah Jahan. Shah Jahan ascended the throne at Lahore on 2nd Jamada al-Awwal 1037 A.H. (January 8, 1628). Three weeks afterwards, on 26th Jamada al-Awwal (February 1, 1628), he ordered Asaf Khan to eliminate all possible contenders to the throne, who could pose a threat to his rule in the future. Accordingly Asaf Khan put to death, Shahryar, the children of Khusrau Mirza, Dawar Baksh and Garshasp, and the sons of Prince Daniyal, Tahmuras and Hoshang, who were cousins of Shah Jahan. Nur Jahan was confined to a comfortable mansion in Lahore for the rest of her life, with an annual pension of two lakhs of rupees. Her daughter, Ladli Begum, the widow of Shahryar, also lived with her in this mansion. Asaf Khan, was appointed prime minister of the Mughal empire. Shah Jahan now went on to rule for 30 years, until 1658, a period known as the golden age of the Mughal Empire, one of the most prosperous in the history of India.

Portrait of Shah Jahan by Hashim in the mid-17th century

Portrait of Shah Jahan by Hashim in the mid-17th century

The possible course of the Nur Jahan pendant after it was created during the unstabe period of 1627-28

As shown earlier, Nur Jahan was not able to wear the pendant that bears her name, and created just before the death of Jahangir Shah, as an Empress. However, between November 8, 1627 and end of December of the same year, a short period of one-and-half months, during which Prince Shahryar, her son-in-law, ruled as emperor, she could have worn the pendant at Shahryar's court, if she had so desired. There is no evidence to show that she wore the pendant during this period. It is highly improbable that she would have worn the pendant during this period, given the uncertain future that lay ahead for her son-in-law, and knowing very well that Shah Jahan and his army were marching towards Lahore for a show down with Shahryar. Three possible scenarios now emerge for the future course of the pendant after it was designed and created just before the death of Jahangir Shah.

1) The first possibility was that after the creation of the pendant by the court jewelers, it was never delivered to Empress Nur Jahan, due to the unsettled conditions in the empire, and remained in the safe custody of the Mughal treasury, until peace and stability was established in the empire.

2) The second possibility was that the pendant was actually delivered to Empress Nur Jahan and remained as a part of her official jewelry collection, which was surrendered to the Mughal treasury after she became dowager empress, with the ascension of Shah Jahan to the Mughal throne, on the 2nd Jamada al-Awwal, 1037 A.H.

3) The third possibility was that the pendant was delivered to the Empress, and remained as part of her personal jewelry collection, which she retained and did not surrender to the treasury, and subsequently gifted it to her niece, the new Empress Mumtaz Mahal.

If either the first or the second scenarios were the ones that likely transpired, the pendant remained with the Mughal treasury, and was given to Empress Mumtaz Mahal, only after her husband Shah Jahan ascended the throne as the new emperor, and after specific instructions were given by him to the treasury. However, whether Mumtaz Mahal received the pendant either from her husband Shah Jahan or her aunt Nur Jahan, she was not able to enjoy wearing this pendant for long, as in the year 1041 A.H. (1631 A.D.), just three years after she ascended the throne, she died at Burhanpur while giving birth to her 14th child.

17th century portrait of Mumtaz Mahal by unknown artist

17th century portrait of Mumtaz Mahal by unknown artist

 

How the Nur Jahan/Taj Mahal Pendant might have reached the West ?

The Nur Jahan pendant remained in the Mughal treasury after it was returned to it, following the death of Empress Mumtaz Mahal. The pendant would have then remained in the treasury during the successive rules of Mughal emperors, like Aurangzeb (1658-1707), Bahadur Shah (1707 to 1712), Jahandar Shah ( 1712 to 1713), Farruk Siyar (1713 to 1719), and Muhammad Shah (1719 to 1748), and sometimes used on certain occasions, by their empress consorts. It was during the reign of Muhammad Shah, that Nadir Shah, the ruler and conqueror of neighbouring Persia, invaded north India in February 1739, and captured Delhi and Agra. Nadir Shah's forces sacked Delhi and Agra, and when he and his army eventually withdrew in May 1739, carried with them an enormous war booty, estimated then at 70 corores (700 million) of rupees. The plunder of Delhi and Agra enabled Nadir Shah to exempt all Iranians from taxes for the next three years. His booty also included most of the crown jewels of the Mughal empire, that consisted among others several chests full of pearls, emeralds, colored stones and diamonds, which also included some famous diamonds, like the Koh-i-Noor, Darya-i-Noor, Nur-ul-Ain etc. and the renowned Peacock throne of Shah Jahan and possibly also the Nur Jahan Pendant.

Portrait of Nader Shah from the collection of the Victoria-Albert Museum

After Nadir Shah's assassination by his own bodyguards in 1749, most of the valuables in the Iranian treasury were stolen by his close associates and commanders. The peacock throne was also dismantled and the jewels encrusted on it stolen. It was possible that even the Nur Jahan pendant, like most other jewels like the Akbar Shah/Jahangir Shah diamond, also fell into unauthorized hands during this period and eventually found their way out of the country. Some of the lost jewels, especially those taken by Shah Rukh, the blind grandson of Nadir Shah were recovered by torturing, by Agha Muhammad Khan Qajar, the founder of the Qajar dynasty, that finally resulted in the death of Shah Rukh. However, jewels that fell into the hands of ordinary soldiers in Nadir Shah's Afghan bodyguard were never recovered. The Koh-i-Noor diamond fell into the hands of Ahmad Khan Abdali, the commander of the 4,000-strong Afghan bodyguard, and ended up in Kandahar, Afghanistan, where he was elected Shah, by a tribal council. The lost treasures eventually appeared in the capitals of the western nations, some, like the Akbar Shah diamond, through Istanbul in Turkey. It is not known, where the Nur Jahan pendant first appeared in the west.

 

Alternative way of how the Nur Jahan/Taj Mahal diamond might have reached the west

It is possible that the Nur Jahan/Taj Mahal pendant might have escaped the plunder of Nadir Shah in 1739, either because it was out of the treasury at that moment, possibly around the neck of a lady of the royal family, or it was in some dark corner of the treasury where it escaped detection, or possibly part of the loot that was recaptured that included the Agra diamond, when the tail-end of his long convoy of elephants and horses were attacked during their long journey back to Iran, through Indian territory. The pendant was safely returned to the Mughal treasury, where it remained until it was inherited by the last of the Mughal emperors of the disintegrating empire, Bahadur Zafar Shah II, whose domain was restricted only to the City of Delhi.

Bahadur Zafar Shah II, last Mughal emperor of India

After the Indian Mutiny of 1857, Delhi was captured by the British, and Bahadur Zafar Shah II was arrested and exiled to Burma, bringing to an end the 331-year Mughal rule of India, that began in 1526 A.D. Like Nadir Shah's plunder of Delhi in 1739, a second plunder of Delhi took place, when the city fell into the hands of the British forces in September 1857. It is believed that most of the valuable treasurers in the Mughal treasury of Delhi fell into the hands of the rampaging British forces, who looted the entire treasury. The Nur Jahan/Taj Mahal pendant was possibly one of the treasurers that disappeared from the treasury on that day, and fell into the hands of an unknown British soldier, who eventually smuggled it into Britain. The 28.15-carat, fancy light pink, cushion-cut diamond known as the Agra diamond, is also believed to be one such treasure that entered Britain in a similar manner. Please refer to our page on the Agra Diamond.

 

Richard Burton purchases the historic Nur Jahan/Taj Mahal pendant necklace, in 1972, and presents it to Elizbeth Taylor as a gift for her 40th-birthday

Out of all the gifts received by Elizabeth Taylor from Richard Burton, without any doubt the most outstanding gift, was the 17th-century Nur Jahan/Taj Mahal diamond and jade pendant necklace, which was given to her as a gift for her 40th birthday in 1972. The Taj Mahal diamond pendant, perhaps symbolized the true love and affection shown by Burton to his wife Liz Taylor, just as much as the same stone given as a gift by Emperor Shah Jahan to his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal in the 17th-century, symbolized the Emperor's true love and affection to his wife, who unfortunately died in 1631, while giving birth to her 14th child. The internationally renowned Taj Mahal that was built as a mausoleum for Mumtaz Mahal, immortalized their great relationship. "I would have liked to buy her the [actual] Taj-Mahal," he remarked, "but it would cost too much to transport. This diamond has so many carats, its almost a turnip!!

But, unlike the tale of immortal love between Shah Jahaan and his beloved Mumtaz Mahal, the intense and passionate relationship between Burton and Taylor was unfortunately short lived and lasted only about 10 years. The couple divorced in 1974, but reconciled an year later and re-married in 1975. However the second marriage too broke up in 1976.

 

The Nur Jahan/Taj Mahal diamond and jade pendant and necklace is due to come up for auction, as part of the sale of Elizabeth Taylor's jewelry collection, at Christie's New York, on December 13 and 14, 2011

A total of 269 pieces of jewelry from Elizabeth Taylor's jewelry collection, are due to come up for sale, at a Christie's New York auction, to be held at the Rockerfeller Plaza, on December 13 and 14, 2011. On the first day of the sale, known as Legendary Jewels, Evening Sale, Christie's will present 80 of Elizabeth Taylor's most iconic jewels, that also include historic pieces such as the Krupp diamond, the Nur Jahan/Taj Mahal diamond and Jade pendant necklace and the La Peregrina pearl necklace. On the second day, during two day-sale sessions, 189 additional jewels will also come up for auction. A pre-sale estimate of $300,000 to $500,000 has been placed on the historic Nur Jahan/Taj Mahal diamond and Jade pendant necklace, which is Lot No. 56 at the Legendary Jewels auction. However given the historical provenance of the pendant and necklace, that has a history of nearly 400 years, being associated with the lives of two great Mughal emperors and their favorite spouses, and the modern provenance of the pendant and necklace, being associated with the lives of two of the most renowned and respected Hollywood celebrities of modern time, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, it would not be surprising if the price realized exceeded the upper estimate by several folds.

 

You are welcome to discuss this post/related topics with Dr Shihaan and other experts from around the world in our FORUMS (forums.internetstones.com)

Back to Famous Diamonds,Gemstones and Pearls

 

Related :-

Akbar Shah-Jahangir Shah Diamond

Shah Diamond

Taj-i-Mah Diamond

Shah Jahaan Diamond

Canning Jewel

References :-

1) Jahangir - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

2) Nur Jahan - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

3) Shah Jahan - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

4) Mumtaz Mahal - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

5) Shahryar (Mughal Prince) - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

6) Nader Shah - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

7) Christie's Press Release - The Crown Jewels of Hollywood - The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor - September 7, 2011. www.christies.com

8) Christie's Sale 2623, The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor : Legendary Jewels, Evening Sale. Auction Catalogue. www.christies.com

9) The Taj Mahal, an Indian diamond and Jade Pendant - Lot 56. The Collection of Ekizabeth Taylor : Legendary Jewels, Evening Sale. Auction Catalogue. www.christies.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Register in our Forums

 

News

 

Blog & Education Feed