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Maharajas' Jewels Hardcover – October 1, 1999

12 customer reviews

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Hardcover, October 1, 1999
$264.28 $134.68

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

For a nation with a dismal economy, India has enormous gold reserves in the personal jewelry of the vast majority of the Indian people. However, the authors of this well-documented and beautifully illustrated volume focus on the jewelry of Indian maharajas and royalty, who saw it as a source of power and prestige. The six chapters span several thousand years, from Mughal times to the present, covering tales of untold riches and a history of exploitation by the Portuguese, Dutch, and British, who exported precious gems and jewelry to the royal houses of Europe. Following India's independence from Britain, most of these treasures disappeared or went underground. Now this jewelry is once again on view in this spectacular work, highlighting the renowned Baroda pearls, Indore pears, and Arcot diamonds as well as creations by Boucheron, Cartier, Garrard, Harry Winston, and Van Cleef & Arpels. Weaving together mystery, intrigue, symbolism, and astrology, this fascinating book is a welcome addition to any library collecting books on jewelry. Stephen Allan Patrick, East Tennessee State Univ. Lib., Johnson City
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Katherine Prior is a historian specializing in the British Empire, focusing on India. She has a Ph.D. from Cambridge University. She is regularly published in books and academic journals, and is also an exhibition consultant for the Museum of the British Empire. She lives in London.

John Adamson has studied at Devon and the Universities of Edinburgh and Geneva. He has worked at the Cambridge University Press, was head of publications at the National Portrait Gallery, and now runs a publishing house in Cambridge.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Vendome Press (October 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 086565218X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865652187
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 1.2 x 13.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,148,677 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Forget those diamonds that are supposed to be a girl's best friend - they're mere baubles compared to the opulent jewels that covered India's maharajas from turban tips to beringed fingers. Their palaces needed no artificial light as rooms shone with the brilliance of thousands of precious gems.
"Too much" was not in the vocabulary of these rulers as to many possessing and adorning themselves with fabulous jewelry was their raison d'etre. "The Maharaja of Baroda owned five long strands of perfectly matched, pigeon-sized, cream-colored pearls," which he wore in a bib-like drape. Rubies from Burma, emeralds from Brazil, Golconda diamonds and Kashmir sapphires were the decorations of the day.
Some 300 eye-popping photos in this sumptuous folio-size volume attest to princely extravagance, and to the artistry of great jewelers such as Cartier and Boucheron whom the royals commissioned to set their gems. The accompanying text is rich with insights for all who are fascinated by once princely India and enjoy jewels of unparalleled beauty.
This epoch of luxury came to an end in 1947 with India's independence. The maharajahs resigned and their treasures were either exported or hidden. Fortunately, they're gathered once more in this stunning volume.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Sonny Singh on December 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Being a Rajput from Marwar (present day Jodhpur) I am biased towards anything having to do with my rich culture and ancestor's historical past. This book is no exception...the first time I layed eyes on this piece of art, I knew I had to have it. The book is very informative, rich with detail and exquisite to behold. The author does an excellent job in giving the historical and pictoral migration of India's royal jewels throughout India's tumultuous past to the present day. The photographs are reason enough to purchase this book. What I liked about the book especially was the ability of the author to take some jewels and give the lucid story behind each individual piece and its significance in India's history. The book is a keeper and will look like a piece of ornate gold on any coffee table or bookcase!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on January 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Maharajahs' Jewels provides an oversized, lavish examination of maharaja jewelry, considering the history behind royal jewelry making in India and the conditions under which some of the most famous jewelry pieces were manufactured. The stories of the Indian princes and their jewelry will appeal to any interested in Indian history in general and jewelry-making in particular.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on December 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Whether one wants a comprehensive, yet accessible, guide to the history of India, the history of fine jewels or indeed a peek at some of the most sumptuous works of art ever created, this is the book for you. This work has been quarried from a mine of Parisian salesrooms, Jewel houses and Indian Palaces with such skill, that the result is a gem of a work which will remain unrivalled for years. If this is your thing, you can not afford to miss this book. If this is not your thing, you still can not afford to miss this book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "shanksvan" on December 28, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I had bought the book "Maharaja's Jewels" by Katherine Prior and John Adamson and I must say that it was truly a wonderful book. For those who have interest in Jewels, Indian history, Royalty, Photography and I think for any one it will be a great experience to read it.
The Authors have brought out the richness of the land in an excellent presentation. The quality of the book in terms of the content, pictures, presentation, the collection of the jewels shown and the history behind them is very well presented.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and certainly recommend to any one with interest in such a book. it should be in any interested person's collection.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By henryraddick@hotmail.com on January 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Do not be put off by the Carry On film style title of this book, it is a work of outstanding scholarship covering a fascinating subject.
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