Bejewelled Treasures: the Al Thani Collection

In 2009, Sheik Hamad bin Abdullah Al-Thani visited the V&A’s Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts, an exhibition about India’s royal courts curated by Dr. Amin Jaffer, the International Director of Asian Art at Christie’s. Immensely inspired, Al-Thani began acquiring pieces he liked, including rarefied pieces, that form his collection today on view at V&A until 10 April 2016.

Considered one of the most important and comprehensive collections of Indian jewelry in the world today, the pieces range in date from the early 17th century to the present day, and were made in the Indian subcontinent or inspired by India. They include spectacular precious stones, jades made for Mughal emperors and a gold tiger-head finial from the throne of the South Indian ruler Tipu Sultan.

Objects from the collections of the Nizams of Hyderabad show the influence of Western techniques and gem cutting on the work of Indian jewellers. Famous jewels from leading European houses such as Cartier reveal the more significant impact of India on Art Deco jewellery in the early 20th century.

These bejewelled treasures highlight the exceptional skills of goldsmiths within the Indian subcontinent. The most recent pieces by jewellers such as JAR and Bhagat also demonstrate that cross-cultural exchanges continue to inspire contemporary jewellery design in India and Europe.

Visitor Information: Victoria & Albert Museum
Address: Cromwell Rd, London SW7 2RL, United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 20 7942 2000
Admission: free
Open hours: 10.00 – 17.45 daily
10.00 – 22.00 Friday (reduced gallery openings after 18.00)