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This large, fine, pierced, floral-form pendant is of gold (most probably over a lac core) set with nine nava-ratna gems, including an emerald, a citrine, coral, moonstone and a sapphire, all around a large, faceted ruby, and interspersed with diamonds.
Untracht (1997, p. 309) says that in Dravidian south India, the nava-ratna gemstones are used as a rosary but elsewhere in India, they are used as a talismanic device. The nine gems have multiple meanings and associations. One is that each gem represents the nine celestial Hindu deities and the nine ‘planets’.
A large tear-shaped baroque pearl is suspended from the lower part of the pendant. A gold loop (set with a diamond) is at the upper end, to allow suspension.
The reverse is beautifully enamelled in pink, cream and green enamels with Mughal-inspired flower motifs. The dominant use of pink is typical of Benares enamel work.
The pendant is in an excellent condition, and is highly wearable.
Aitken, M.E., When Gold Blossoms: Indian Jewelry from the Susan L. Beningson Collection, Asia Society & Philip Wilson Publishers, 2004.
Bala Krishnan, U.R., Jewels of the Nizams, Department of Culture, Government of India, 2001.
Barnard, N., Indian Jewellery, V&A Publishing, 2008.
Chong, A, & N. Murai, Journeys East: Isabella Steward Gardner and Asia, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 2009.
Untracht, O., Traditional Jewelry of India, Thames & Hudson, 1997.