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Centuries of Opulence: Jewels of India

Royal Manga Mala
19th century
Diamond, ruby and emerald in 22K gold
Necklace 79 cm long, pendant 11 x 8.5 cm.

While a necklace exhibiting mango-shaped elements (a manga mala) is traditional in South India, a manga mala as elaborate as this one was worn only by those who could afford such a massive gem-set jewel. Note the stylized mangos around the collar of the necklace. Its pendant represents the mythical two-headed bird (gandaberunda) that was the emblem of Mysore’s Wadiyar royal family. There is elaborate repoussé detailing on the back.

Courtesy of a private collection. Photo by Robert Weldon/GIA.