The Patiala Necklace: A Historic Collaboration between the Maharaja of Patiala and Cartier
A Maharaja's Grandeur
Bhupinder Singh, the Maharaja of Patiala, was known for his extravagant lifestyle and flamboyant taste in jewelry. He ascended to the throne of the princely state of Patiala in the Punjab region of India in 1900, embarking on a reign that would become synonymous with grandeur.
Journey to Paris
In the early 1920s, the Maharaja, reputed to be one of the world's wealthiest men, embarked on a historic voyage to Paris, the fashion capital of the world. With him, he carried an astonishing trove of jewels, including thousands of diamonds and a myriad of precious gemstones, reportedly totalling 2,930 diamonds amounting to 962.25 carats and a multitude of other gems. His intention was to commission unique pieces that would reflect his royal stature and distinct aesthetic sensibilities.
Cartier, a brand already held in high regard for its innovative designs and exceptional craftsmanship, was chosen by the Maharaja for this ambitious endeavor. The commission was a symbol of the East meeting the West and would cement Cartier's reputation as a jeweler capable of executing works of an unprecedented scale.
The Creation of the Patiala Necklace
The pinnacle of this collaboration was the creation of the Patiala Necklace in 1928. This magnificent piece was unlike anything the world had seen before. Designed by Jacques Cartier, it was a stunning cascade of platinum chains embellished with 2,930 diamonds, including the world-renowned 234.69 carat 'De Beers' diamond. The necklace was designed in the ceremonial bib style, befitting the grandeur of the Maharaja and his court. It was a testament to both the Maharaja's opulence and Cartier's unparalleled skill.
The De Beers Diamond: A Gem among Gems
The centerpiece, the seventh-largest diamond in the world at the time, was the famous 'De Beers' yellow diamond. It was discovered in the De Beers mines and originally weighed 428.50 carats in its rough form before it was cut into a cushion shape. Its impressive size and warm yellow hue made it the heart of this extraordinary creation.
The Disappearance and Rediscovery
The Patiala Necklace remained in the Maharaja's possession until his death, after which its fate became murky. Unfortunately, the necklace disappeared, only to resurface in fragments decades later. In 1982, the 'De Beers' diamond was auctioned off at Sotheby's. The remaining parts of the necklace were discovered at a second-hand jewelry shop in London in 1998. The necklace, minus many of its original gems, was restored by Cartier and is now part of their historic collection.
Legacy of the Collaboration
The partnership between the Maharaja of Patiala and Cartier remains a symbol of a time when luxury knew no bounds. It marked a beautiful amalgamation of Eastern extravagance and Western craftsmanship, which birthed an artifact of unmatched beauty and historical significance - the Patiala Necklace. Even today, it continues to evoke awe and admiration, standing as a testament to the timeless allure of extraordinary jewelry.