– scroll down to see further images –
This spherical gold pendant or large bead is set with dozens of cabochon rubies and a row of diamonds, all foil-backed and in kundan settings, and arrayed as lotus blooms with flower-like gold settings, on both ends. The stones between the ends are arrayed in a flowing trellis.
The pendant is pierced all the way through. The hole is small and would permit only the finest of chains. In India, however, it would have been worn with a gold wire threaded through the hole and then this would be attached to chains at either end.
Most likely, the pendant is the product of a South Indian goldsmith working in a Mughal style.
It is heavy on the hand but probably filled with lac. It still does have a significant gold component however.
There is a tradition in India or making small gem-encrusted gold spheres for royal courts. One of the better known examples came to be included in the crown jewels of Iran and is illustrated in Meen & Tushingham (1969, p. 95).
Moura Carvalho (2010, p. 193) says that necklaces that included spheres such as the example here were worn by high-caste Hindus in Karnataka.
The pendant here is free of losses and has a fine patina. It is very wearable.
Bala Krishnan, U.R., & M.S. Kumar, Dance of the Peacock: Jewellery Traditions of India, India Book House Ltd, 1999.
Keane, M., Treasury of the World: Jewelled Arts of India in the Age of the Mughals – The Al-Sabah Collection Kuwait National Museum, Thames & Hudson, 2001.
Meen, V.B., & A.D. Tushingham, Crown Jewels of Iran, University of Toronto Press, 1969.
Moura Carvalho, P., Gems and Jewels of Mughal India: Jewelled and Enamelled Objects from the 16th to 20th Centuries, The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, Volume XVII, The Nour Foundation, 2010.