Enquiry about object: 8705

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    Indian Gold & Enamelled Gem-Set Navaratna Pendant

    Benares, India
    circa 1870

    length (including pearl): 8.5cm, width: 5.1cm, weight: 40g



    UK art market

    – scroll down to see further images –

    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.

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