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  • Place of origin:

    Madras (made)

  • Date:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carnelian, cut and polished using abrasives, usually on a bow-driven, rotating disc or wheel

  • Museum number:

    08269:1/(IS) to 08269:13/(IS)

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The carnelian cabochons in this collection were fashioned in Chennai (Madras) in the mid- to late 19th century and show a range of shapes and styles. Traditionally, most of the fashioning and polishing was accomplished using abrasive-charged discs that were turned on bow-driven lathes. A vast majority of the raw material is routinely subjected to heat-treatment to dry it and to permanently intensify the colour. This group was originally acquired by the Indian Museum and transferred to South Kensington in 1879.

Physical description

A collection of cut and polished cabochons, ten being oval with flattened or slightly domed tops (one damaged and several with crazing), one oval with a domed top bearing a ribbed surface, one with a stylised arrowhead outline with a domed top and one with a rounded rectangular outline with a flat top (damaged). Semi-translucent to opaque with colours ranging from medium orange to deep brownish orange, which have probably been intensified by heat-treatment.

Place of Origin

Madras (made)



Materials and Techniques

Carnelian, cut and polished using abrasives, usually on a bow-driven, rotating disc or wheel


Length: 44.6 mm Longest cabochon, 08269:1/(IS), Width: 28.1 mm Longest cabochon, 08269:1/(IS), Depth: 9.3 mm Longest cabochon, 08269:1/(IS), Length: 19.5 mm Ribbed cabochon, 08269:11/(IS), Width: 15.8 mm Ribbed cabochon, 08269:11/(IS), Depth: 6.1 mm Ribbed cabochon, 08269:11/(IS), Length: 25.0 mm Arrowhead cabochon, 08269:12/(IS), Width: 17.7 mm Arrowhead cabochon, 08269:12/(IS), Depth: 5.5 mm Arrowhead cabochon, 08269:12/(IS), Length: 19.8 mm Rounded rectangular cabochon, 08269:13/(IS), Width: 14.7 mm Rounded rectangular cabochon, 08269:13/(IS), Depth: 5.4 mm Rounded rectangular cabochon, 08269:13/(IS)

Object history note

Formerly in The India Museum in London and transferred to the South Kensington Museum (later renamed The Victoria & Albert Museum) in 1879.

Descriptive line

Collection of thirteen cabochons, carnelian, mainly oval, cut and polished, Madras India, c. 1850




Gemstones; Hardstone; Jewellery


South & South East Asia Collection

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