The Patiala Ruby Choker

July 14, 2020

The Patiala Ruby Choker

It is said that people live on through the marks they leave on this world. Sometimes it is a lesson, a story, or, often, an object. Though, the greater gift left behind is a window into the past, and when we look in, history comes to life.

As the granddaughter of Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala (r. 1900-1938), Manjusha Jewels’ designer, Jyotsna “Joey” Singh has an especially powerful connection to one of Patiala’s most recognizable rulers. Known for his opulent lifestyle and great treasure of jewels, it is no surprise that Joey applies her love of gems to create contemporary, unique designs that have a historical feel.

Patiala Ruby Choker (Cartier)

Maharaja Yadavindra Singh of Patiala, Jyotsna's Uncle, wearing the Patiala Necklace.

Royal Portrait (c. 1931) picturing Maharaja Bhupinder Singh Of Patiala and his many wives – one wearing the Patiala Ruby Choker and accompanying necklace

Although the Patiala Necklace is the most widely recognized piece – with its original centerpiece “De Beers” yellow diamond of over 234 carats – commissioned by Maharaja Bhupinder Singh and created by Cartier, the Patiala Ruby Choker is perhaps the most mesmerizing.

Gifted by the Maharaja to one of his many wives, and once part of a grander multi-layer matching ruby necklace, the Patiala Ruby Choker was created from rich crimson red rubies, diamonds, and natural pearls that were passed down from previous generations.

Rediscovered in a shortened form and restored by Cartier in 2000, it now belongs to The Al Thani Collection. Through auction at Christie’s, the Patiala Ruby Choker had a realized price of $975,000. Traveling through museum exhibitions as part of the Foundation’s public art initiatives, Joey was delighted to see it in person when the East Meets West Exhibition came to the De Young Museum (Nov 2018 – Feb 2019), decreasing the distance between herself and her royal heritage.

Joey’s grandmother, Nirmo Devi, wearing a diamond and ruby nose ring from the crown jewel collection

Kept in the family, and mostly unseen by the outside world, remains an even more treasured crown jewel – a nose ring made of diamonds and rubies. Passed down through four generations of women, its history now lives on through Joey’s granddaughter, Aanya. ▣

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