A pair of crescent-shaped pearl and diamond earrings, India, Hyderabad, late 18th century
What is guaranteed?
of crescent-shaped form, set with diamonds, fringed with large pendant pearls secured by gold loops and wire, the reverse decorated with flowers and peacocks in red, white, green and blue enamels, traces of green enamelling to the terminals of some of the threaded pearls, clip fastenings to reverse
7.9cm. max. height
6.4cm. max. width
In good overall condition, minor discolouration to pearls consistent with age, inclusions and abrasions to diamonds, rubbing to enamelling, as viewed
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
Property of a member of the Royal family of the Nizams of Hyderabad, Deccan, by repute.
These magnificent diamond earrings belong to a group of jewellery from the collection of the Nizam of Hyderabad. The family inherited gemstones from earlier rulers of the Deccan many of which were remounted over the years. Before the discovery of Brazilian and African diamonds in the eighteenth and nineteenth century all diamonds came from the alluvial mines of the Deccan. The areas of Ahmadnagar, Berar, Vijayanagara and Golconda were responsible for producing some of the world's most famous diamonds including the Koh-i-noor, Agra and 'Idol's Eye'. European accounts such as that of the French trader Jean-Baptiste Tavernier give an indication of the mining, cutting and trading of these diamonds during the Deccani Sultanate period.
These earrings were made for the Asaf Jahis of Aurangabad and Hyderabad. At its height the Asaf Jahi dynasty (1724-1948) was one of the wealthiest in the world. During the Asaf Jahi period Indian jewellery was used to decorate the whole body. Ear ornaments as well as earrings were worn on the ear. These crescent or fan-shaped pankhiyan ear jewels were originally attached to the upper outer edge of the ear but by the eighteenth century they were adapted to hang from the earlobe. In a series of photographs by Raja Deen Dayal similar pankhiyan earrings are seen adorning the ears of the wives of the last Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan (see Bala Krishnan 2018, pp.172, 182, 184).