9 September 2017 – 3 January 2018
Venice, Palazzo Ducale, Scrutinio Room
Since ancient times, India has been noted as a land rich in precious gems. Renowned for its diamonds, sapphires and rubies, the ascent of the Mughal Empire in the sixteenth century saw the skill of its jewellers rise to the level of an unparalleled art form.
Most notably, the fourth and fifth emperors presided over the birth and development of a golden age that harnessed the art and culture of both East and West to create fabulous jewels, so that even today the variety and beauty of these artefacts is greeted with amazement.
Following the decline of the Mughal Empire in the eighteenth century, it was the Maharajas under the new British Raj who continued the fabulous tradition. Immensely rich and sophisticated, they interacted with the most famous European jewellery firms.
Their capacity for reinventing jewellery, such as embedding ancient gems in more modern compositions, led to designs that were a wonderful combination of Indian traditions and the latest trends in Western culture.
Several exceptional jewels, including The Idol’s Eye, the largest blue diamond in the world, have been selected from the collection of His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani of the Qatari royal family. The Al Thani Collection of gems and jewels shares with the public a fabulous, four-centuries-long story of culture, design and beauty.
Scientific direction: Gabriella Belli
Curated by: Amin Jaffer, Gian Carlo Calza