Spotting Raja de Kishangarh’s bowtie, being carved out of emeralds of a size usually associated with pebbles rather than gemstones, or a Mughal necklace rich of 150 carats of the finest Golconda diamonds and 47 Colombian emeralds beads, it could be tempting to reduce Mughal ruling of India (1526-1857) to Centuries of Opulence. Albeit the title of a new exhibition of Jewels from India at the Gemmological Institute of America (GIA) in Carlsbad, CA, I would argue instead that the aesthetic eye of the Mughals was rooted in a true understanding of luxury and honed by learned interests in art, architecture, science, culture and religion extending well beyond their Muslim faith, a tolerance which left an indelible mark on the arts of India.
As a gemologist, I am never shy about my love of jewelry but lately I haven’t written about it as much. While in Paris this summer, the Médusa exhibition at Musée d’Art Moderne hit the spot on my grid, at the junction between art, jewelry and a 3rd dimension that made this visit a highlight of my summer! Ready to make the most of Médusa, I had signed up for a 3-hour conference which turned out to be…a Writing Workshop in French! The exhibition was not just your typical showcase of aesthetically beautiful jewels signed by the big names from the Place Vendôme. Although many of the glamorous suspects were spotted… Instead, Médusa aimed to rock preconceptions about jewelry.