The Blog

The Taj Mahal Diamond Necklace

In art. on August 23, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Set with an inscribed heart-shaped table-cut diamond, within a red stone and jade mount set with table-cut diamonds, the reverse decorated with an enamel latticework motif, from a gold neckchain set with cabochon rubies and old mine-cut diamonds, mounted in gold, inscribed heart-shaped table-cut diamond bearing the Islamic date 1037 [1627-1628], gold and enamel cage of later addition, neckchain circa 1972, length adjustable, pendant suspends 17½ ins. at longest
Neckchain by Cartier.

The literal translation of the Persian inscription on the stone has three entries: Nur Jahan Baygum-e Padshah23; and 1037. This means that Nur Jahan was a lady of the Padshah, while the number 23 refers to the regnal year of Shah Jahangir, which was indeed 1037, equivalent to 1627-28 A.D. Research indicates that Shah Jahangir had the stone engraved with his wife’s name, Nur Jahan, although it is not known whether in fact Nur Jahan ever owned or wore the jewelry. It is believed that at some point Shah Jahangir gave the jewel to his son, Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan “King of the World” (1592-1666). Shah Jahan presented the diamond to Mumtaz-I-Mahal, his favorite and most beloved wife. In 1627, at the age of thirty-five, Prince Khurram, as he was then known, ascended the throne and although he had several wives, Mumtaz-I-Mahal was said to have been his most trusted advisor and friend. After bearing him fourteen children, she died in childbirth in 1631, at which point the emperor, overcome by grief, locked himself in his room, refusing food for eight days. In memory of his wife, the emperor commissioned a grand mausoleum in her honor that took 20,000 laborers twenty years to complete and utilized only the finest materials available. Initially referred to as the rauza, or tomb, it was later named the Taj Mahal and stands as one of the greatest testaments of architectural elegance in the world today.

Originally, the pendant would have been suspended from a silk cord and possibly would have suspended a pearl drop. The 20th century gold and ruby neckchain was fashioned by Cartier in the style of the orignal silk cord.


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