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The Bejewelled Pearl Carpet of Baroda

One of the world's most famous and historical carpets sold at auction at Sotheby's a couple of days ago for a record breaking $5.5 million to an unknown buyer. This legendary masterpiece is known as the Pearl Carpet of Baroda. It is only 5ft. 8in. by 8ft. 8in. but it is bejewelled with least 1.2-1.5 million natural Basra pearls from the Arabian gulf. The rosettes contain approximately 2,500 table and rose cut diamonds totalling 350-400 carats as well as foil backed rubies, emeralds and sapphires set in gold.

It was commissioned in 1865 by the fabulously wealthy Khande Rao Gaekwar, Maharaja of Baroda in India who was known for his fondness for jewels and who owned some of the most spectacular gemstones in the world including the Brazilian sourced "Star of the South" diamond. The Mughal style carpet design was inspired by another similar carpet from the Taj Mahal in Agra - a bejewelled coverlet woven for the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal, the woman so beloved by Shah Jahan (see my past post on this Mughal emperor).

The tradition of embellishing carpets with precious metal threads and jewels is ancient. Such carpets were mentioned in old folk tales and stories from the One Thousand and One Nights collection. The carpet was intended to be a gift to the tomb of the Prophet Mohammed in Medina but was never delivered due to the Maharaja's untimely death in 1870.

One latter day and very flamboyant Maharani, Sita Devi who "helped" herself to much of the Baroda treasures actually took the pearl carpet to Monaco where she lived her life amongst the rich and famous. The media dubbed her the Indian Wallis Simpson and you can read a little about her and her reportedly catty remark to her contemporary, the Duchess of Windsor in my past post , The Baroda Pearls and Sita Devi -there is a picture of her wearing the fabulous Star of the South diamond necklace.


References & Picture Source
Sotheby' Press Release
Sotheby's : The Pearl Carpet of Baroda
The Beading Gem's Journal

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  1. Gosh I'll bet that's gorgeous in person! Can you imagine the nightmare cleaning it would be?

  2. lovely story about a lovely piece of art...

  3. Nice carpet but I bet you can't walk on it. Wall hanging?

  4. That sure is something! I don't think I'd walk on it...but I might touch my toe on a corner...just to experience the luxury of having a jeweled carpet underfoot.

  5. Although it is a carpet, it was never meant to be walked but used as a coverlet or perhaps a wall hanging. It must be fabulous to see up close.

  6. I just wanted to say how much I love your blog. Since I get the feed to my reader, I don't usually take the time to comment. But this time I wanted to say thank you for having such a wonderful blog

  7. Thank you for your kind words and for taking the trouble to let me know how much you like my blog. I will certainly try and keep everyone entertained and coming back for more! I appreciate your subscription, too.


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