Some of the bejeweled pieces on display at the Doge’s Palace included encrusted jewellery with diamonds, rubies, jade, pearls and emeralds, once owned by India’s great maharajas, nizams and emperors. Founded by Babur after his conquest of much of Northern India, the pieces from the Mughal dynasty date from the early 16th century to the mid 18th century, one of India’s most opulent eras in jewelry composition.
Additional pieces from the collection were created during the politically chaotic 18th century and from the British Raj period in the 19th century and were produced to appeal to wealthy British travelers and India’s upper caste. The collector’s more extravagant contemporary objects on display include a necklace commissioned in 1937 by Maharaja Digvijaysinhji of Nawanagar and made by Jacques Cartier which is said to rival the ruby and diamond necklace of Empress Marie-Louise which is part of the Crown Jewels of France.
The Al-thani collection brings together and regroups pieces from many former Indian treasuries, some of which emphasize beliefs of the period.
In India the nine stones of the Navaratna (Sanskrit: नवरत्न) where nava stands for nine and ratna for jewel, are considered to be auspicious and in Vedic texts and Indian Astrology were believed to have the power to protect the wearer
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