Together with Dr. Amin Jaffer, Christie’s International Director for Asian Arts, Qatari gems aficionado, Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al-Thani, released Beyond Extravagance: A Royal Collection Of Gems and Jewels, published by Assouline.
Under the guidance of Dr. Jaffer, the collector edition book retraces almost 400 years of royal craftsmanship and sumptuous Indian bejeweled objects based on the collection of Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al-Thani, a son of a former Qatari Prime Minister, and collector of French decorative arts and Indian fine jewelry.
“His collection is fascinating,” stated Dr Jaffer. “It starts in the 16th century and ends in the 21st century. Indian jewelry is distinctive. It has its own vocabulary, taste, and style, and its own technique. It is often devotional, so it reflects religion, caste, and culture. But what is unique about this book is that it reflects the taste of an individual collector.”
Assembled with a passion for royal gems and a love of Indian craftsmanship, each item embodies the evolution of style and technique in court jewelry from the Mughal imperial gems, the richly bejeweled Maharajas, the celebrated Indian commissions of Cartier, to the latest creations of the 21st century.
Key pieces include a carved jade dagger hilt owned by Shah Jahan, builder of the Taj Mahal; historical Turban ornaments throughout the centuries; the Nizam of Hyderabad Necklace crafted from gold and triangular diamonds; a choker necklace made by Cartier for the Maharaja of Patiala; as well as stunning contemporary creations by JAR using polished emeralds, diamonds, pearls, and rubies.
The hardcover book comes with a slipcase and has 416 pages, with a total of 250 illustrations.