Bejewelled Treasures: The Al-Thani Collection

Image of Bejewelled Treasures: The Al-Thani Collection
Release Date: 
November 16, 2015
V & A Publishing
Reviewed by: 

Bejewelled Treasures offers a bit of exotica . . .”

As with so many books of this genre, Bejewelled Treasures is truly a great gift to readers who are able to be consumed by the glory of such astounding jewels. The book further celebrates and commemorates the art and craft of haute joallier created by some of the world’s greatest master jewelers. The privileged and more informed reader is afforded the once in a lifetime opportunity to view a collection of jewels fit for a king—actually jewels that once belonged to maharajas, nizams, sultans, and emperors of India from the 17th to the 20th centuries.

The common thread here is that all of these jaw droppingly exquisite pieces once belonged to the royalty of India. What sets the book apart is that you witness the fusion of India’s past and present with pieces that were crafted and conceived by ancient artisans of the country as well as those created by the likes of JAR, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Cartier. It’s a rather enlightening slice of history that within a country that is so rife with poverty there were such great riches at the upper echelons of its society.  

The photography and presentation is in line with the best books of the genre and the text is rather brief but highly illuminating as it points out stones, creator, purpose, and provenance of each piece. Let’s say that one might compare this grouping to England’s crown jewels but not as vast of a collection and more rarefied due to its origins.

No question about it, this is a book that makes for great conversation, enjoyment, and repeated perusal. With the holidays upon us, this is a fabulous addition for those who have an interest in fine jewelry as well as those who revel in the sheer beauty and literal majesty of such masterpieces. Bejewelled Treasures offers a bit of exotica within an otherwise rather “normal” sphere of what great wealth can acquire.