The Carew Spinel thumbnail 1
The Carew Spinel thumbnail 2
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
South Asia, Room 41

The Carew Spinel

Spinel
17th century (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This gemstone is a spinel, a stone gemmologically similar to a ruby. It is inscribed with the names or titles of the Mughal emperors Jahangir (r.1605–1627), Shah Jahan (r.1628–1658) and Alamgir (r.1658–1707), the former Mughal prince Aurangzeb. It was bequeathed to the V&A in 1922 by Julia Mary, Lady Carew. Information supplied by her family stated that it had been bought by a relative in Tehran before 1870.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Brief Description
Spinel with engraved inscriptions to the Mughal emperors Jahangir, Shah Jahan and 'Alamgir; drilled vertically; gold pin with diamonds at both ends; silk cords
Physical Description
The Carew spinel engraved with the titles of Jahangir (r.1605-27), Shah Jahan (dated 1629-30) and 'Alamgir (Aurangzeb) (dated 1666), drilled from both ends across its longest dimension. The gold pin is secured by a diamond at top and bottom.
Dimensions
  • Height: 4cm
  • Width: 2.3cm
  • Weight: 133.5ct
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
Jahangir Shah-e Akbar Shah 1021 Sahib-i qiran-i sani 1039 sanah 2 'alamgir Shah 107[7] sanah 10 (These are the titles of Jahangir, Shah Jahan (2) and 'Aurangzeb respectively.)
Credit line
Bequeathed by the Rt. Hon. Julia Mary, Lady Carew
Object history
The stone was said to have been bought in Tehran by a relative of the Rt. Hon. Julia Mary, Lady Carew, some time before 1870. [It was apparently first acquired by Monsieur Richard, from whom it was purchased by Mr Charles Alison, Lady Carew's great-uncle, who was British Minister at the Court of the Shah.]
Production
The inscriptions were added by a specialist engraver within the imperial court workshops.
Summary
This gemstone is a spinel, a stone gemmologically similar to a ruby. It is inscribed with the names or titles of the Mughal emperors Jahangir (r.1605–1627), Shah Jahan (r.1628–1658) and Alamgir (r.1658–1707), the former Mughal prince Aurangzeb. It was bequeathed to the V&A in 1922 by Julia Mary, Lady Carew. Information supplied by her family stated that it had been bought by a relative in Tehran before 1870.
Bibliographic References
  • The Throne, June 23 1906 The Indian Heritage. Court Life and Arts under Mughal Rule. HMSO, 1982. Cat. 297 (SS) p. 108. Pratapaditya Pal, Janice Leoshko, Joseph M. Dye, III, Stephen Markel. Romance of the Taj Mahal, Time Books International, New Delhi, 1989, fig. 135, p.135. Swallow, Deborah and John Guy eds. Arts of India: 1550-1900. text by Rosemary Crill, John Guy, Veronica Murphy, Susan Stronge and Deborah Swallow. London : V&A Publications, 1990. 240 p., ill. ISBN 1851770224, p.82, no.57 Lady Carew was photographed wearing the spinel: for a print in the National Portrait Gallery see: 'Julia Mary (née Lethbridge), Lady Carew' by Herbert Rose Barraud, published by Eglington & Co, carbon print, published 1889. 9 5/8 in. x 7 in. (245 mm x 179 mm) image size. Purchased, 1936. NPG x5633
  • Indian Jewellery: The V&A Collection London: V&A Publishing, 2008 Number: ISBN 9781851774838p. 32, pls. 2.2 and 2.3
  • The Indian Heritage. Court life and Arts under Mughal Rule London: The Victoria and Albert Museum, 1982 Number: ISBN 0 906969 26 3p. 108, cat. no. 297, Susan Stronge
Collection
Accession Number
IM.243-1922

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record createdDecember 15, 1999
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