Maharani Jewellery painting

Royal Ruby – India’s Love Affairs with Fine Jewellery

Ruby's of India

Unheated Mozambique Ruby
Image Courtesy :

Ruby in ancient India was known as Rajratan – the king of jewels. The alluring colour of rubies made people in ancient India believe that it was a source of life and power. Many kings encrusted their weapons with rubies to carry the power of the stone with them to the battle grounds. But red is also symbolic of passion and love, which is why, many royal queens and princesses of India were also known for their affability for rubies. Here are instances of rubies being used by Royals of Imperial India

The Patiala Necklace

the patiala necklace
The Patiala Necklace

The stunning Patiala Necklace was made by the House of Cartier in 1928 for Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala. While the center piece of the necklace was a huge diamond – the De Beers – it was studded with Burmese rubies and smaller diamonds making it one of the most beautiful pieces. The necklace sadly disappeared in 1948, but when it resurfaced in a second-hand shop in London most of the diamonds and all the rubies were missing. Cartier bought the necklace and returned it to its former beauty by replacing the missing diamonds with cubic zirconia and synthetic diamonds.

Ruby Studded Cigarette Holder of Maharani Sita Devi of Baroda

Image Courtest – Sita Devi of Baroda cigarette

Maharani Sita Devi was known for her lavish lifestyle, her regular trips to Europe and endless love for jewels. Heavily laden bracelets, statement earrings and enigmatic necklaces were always a part of her photographs. She was so bewitched by jewels; the Maharani had her cigarette holder studded with beautiful rubies. Other jewellery pieces worthy of attention in the Maharani’s possession included a seven-strand pearl necklace and a three-strand diamond necklace.

Maharani Indira Devi and Her Ruby Studded Turtle

Maharani Shoe Studded with Natural Gemstones
Maharani Shoe Studded with Natural Gemstones

Maharani Indira Devi was the Queen of Cooch Behar and mother of Maharani Gayati Devi of Jaipur. She was one of the most popular socialites of her time. Salvatore Ferragamo mentions her love for Ferragamo shows in his memoirs. She commissioned jewellery studded sandals and shoes in beautiful colours and designs.

She created an impression with her perfect sense of fashion and choice of jewellery. In a casino at Le Touquet in the 1920s, she had a live turtle with its back encrusted in emeralds, diamonds and rubies as a talisman.

Navratan Necklace gifted to Maharani Gayatri Devi by her Maharaja

Maharani Necklace with Colored Stones
Maharani Necklace with Colored Stones

Maharani Gayatri Devi loved pearls. Although she was seen in some very beautiful diamond jewellery as well, but pearls were her favourite. She had almost every outfit beautifully matched with her pearls.

But her most treasured jeweller was a beautiful Navratan necklace gifted by her Maharaja. It included ruby, emerald, sapphire, pearl, coral, garnet, diamond, yellow topaz and cat’s eye.

India’s romance with jewels continues as we explore unconventional designs and often return to traditional styles as well.

While a natural red ruby pendant like this suits our modern lifestyle, we may like the eloquence of the diamond flanked natural ruby to be more suitable for an upscale evening event.

Rubies are beautiful, and they look lovely when used in conjunction with other precious stones too. Whether in gold or platinum, the magnetic charm of ruby continues to allure us. While the lavish lifestyles of the royal Maharajas and Maharanis may sound too dreamy, rubies can still help you achieve some very stunning looks.

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