Friday, January 24, 2014

Gifts of Grandeur: The Carew Spinel, Seventeenth Century

The Carew Spinel
Seventeenth Century
Spinel, Gold, Diamonds, Silk
The Victoria & Albert Museum

For centuries, red spinels were often confused with rubies. Though they are gemmologically similar, the two are different stones with different properties. This impressive red spinel is inscribed with the titles of the Mughal emperors Jahangir (r.1605–1627), Shah Jahan (r.1628–1658) and Alamgir (r.1658–1707.

Made in the Seventeenth Century in Tehran, this necklace features the monumental red stone set on a gold pin and adorned with two diamonds. It is suspended from a red silk cord. The necklace was purchased by an ancestor of Julia Mary, Lady Carew, sometime before 1870. Lady Carew bequeathed the necklace to the V&A in 1922.

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