Well, just as my name indicates, I am a fusion of east and west. I was born in India, to an American mother (a former Peace Corps volunteer in India) and an Indian father, who is a Raja of The Royal House of Patiala. Here’s a quick geography and history lesson– Patiala was a very powerful erstwhile provincial kingdom in northern India, and prior to India’s independence in 1947, it became even more powerful and wealthy, because of its centuries of allegiance to the British, as well as its critical role in helping India transition into independence as the British departed.
The Maharajas who ruled Patiala were, like many other Indian Maharajas, decadent and indulgent consumers, amassing splendid fortunes in properties, palaces, works of art, and of course, jewelry! Arguably the most famous piece acquired was dubbed “The Patiala Necklace”, commissioned by Cartier in 1928, for my uncle, Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala. If you get a chance to see this stunning Art-Deco bib collar necklace at one of Cartier’s world-wide exhibits, I encourage you to do it! There were over 962 carats of total weight in the piece, centered on the fancy yellow DeBeers diamond, the 7th largest diamond in the world.
My grandmother, known for her collection of exquisite rubies, began during my childhood to give me pieces of jewelry from her collection. I have treasured them over the years, and my appreciation for her gifts along with their accompanied stories is the greatest treasure yet. My fascination with family jewelry sparked an interest in gemstones and design more than thirty years ago, and though I don’t have a conventional degree in art or jewelry design, it has allowed me to become a designer “by association”. I love to take elements of these vintage pieces and update them to work with today’s fashions and at the same time, attempt to maintain their timelessness, as the original designers did.
Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry passed down through your family that you could share your story with me?
Love and blessings,
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This post was written by sandrasingh