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Spinel - The Carew Spinel

The Carew Spinel

  • Object:

    Spinel

  • Place of origin:

    Mughal empire (made)

  • Date:

    17th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Spinel, drilled and set on a gold pin, with a diamond at top and bottom

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by the Rt. Hon. Julia Mary, Lady Carew

  • Museum number:

    IM.243-1922

  • Gallery location:

    South Asia, Room 41, case 19

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.

Physical description

The Carew spinel engraved with the titles of Jahangir (r.1605-27), Shah Jahan (dated 1629-30) and 'Alamgir (Aurangzeb) (dated 1666).

Place of Origin

Mughal empire (made)

Date

17th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Spinel, drilled and set on a gold pin, with a diamond at top and bottom

Marks and inscriptions

Jahangir Shah 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, with dates that correspond to 1612-13 and 1629-30.

Dimensions

Height: 4 cm, Width: 2.3 cm, Weight: 133.5 ct

Object history note

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'.]

Descriptive line

Spinel with engraved inscriptions to the Mughal emperors Jahangir, Shah Jahan and Alamgir; drilled vertically; gold pin with diamonds at both ends; silk cords

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

The Throne, June 23 1906
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

Susan Stronge, in The Indian Heritage. Court Life and Arts under Mughal Rule, V&A, 1982, cat. 297, p.108, ISBN 0906969263.
p. 32, pls. 2.2 and 2.3
Indian Jewellery: The V&A Collection London: V&A Publishing, 2008 Number: ISBN 9781851774838

Materials

Spinel; Diamond; Gold

Categories

Jewellery

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

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