The Maharaja of Patiala was the ruler of the princely state of Patiala, in British India. In the late 1920’s he sent a chest of gems to The House of Cartier in Paris, with a request to make his crown jewels. Included in the gems was a 234 Carat yellow octahedral De Beers diamond that had been found in the De Beers mines in the late 19 th century. It weighed 426 carats in its uncut form and was bought by Maharaja Patiala in an auction in Paris. The iconic Collier de Patiala was created by the House of Cartier and presented to him in 1928. It remains one of the most extravagant pieces ever created and the largest single commission that Cartier ever executed.
The Patiala Necklace had five rows of platinum chains encrusted with 2930 diamonds (approximately 960 carat) and some Burmese rubies. The necklace was later dismantled and sold. In 1982 at a Sotheby’s auction in Geneva, the “De Beers” diamond reappeared and was sold. In 1998 a Cartier representative stumbled upon the remnants in a small antique shop in London and bought it. All the big diamonds and Burmese rubies were gone.
It took Cartier four years to restore the necklace to resemble the original. They replaced the lost diamonds with cubic zirconia and synthetic diamonds.