The Met Gala this year saw many interesting outfits. As is the norm, the celebrities walking the red carpet put their most fashionable and blingiest foot forward to keep up with the ‘Gilded Glamour’ theme of Met Gala 2022.
Famous American YoutTuber Emma Chamberlain too walked the red carpet and while her outfit didn’t sport any bling, all the sparkle came from her necklace, which caused quite the stir on social media.
Turns out that the shiny necklace sported by Chamberlain was part of an antique piece that actually belonged to Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, a kingdom in India.
Here’s why her jewellery created a storm on social media. As per reports, the 20-year-old YouTuber wore the choker which was lent by the famous jewellery house Cartier.
The blame for the choker ending up at Cartier lies with European Imperialism. Originally this choker belonged to the Patiala King, Maharaja Bhupinder Singh and it was made way back in 1928 (nearly a hundred years ago) when the Punjab Royal decided to transform his DeBeers diamond, which is incidentally the seventh largest diamond in the world into a choker neckpiece.
The resultant necklace came to be known famously as the Patiala Necklace and it comprised of five rows of platinum chains which were embellished with an astounding 2,930 diamonds along with some rubies from Burma.
Back then the Maharaja had reached out to Cartier to design the diamonds and gemstones into the necklace design as is seen in Emma Chamberlain’s Met Gala picture.
As per a report in the Tribune, the weight of the necklace was over 1000 carats, and right at the center of the choker was the 234.6-carat yellow coloured, DeBeers diamond. The diamond, being the seventh largest in the world was easily the size of a golf ball.
But it is reported that the Patiala necklace project was not the most financially viable one for Cartier mainly because the Maharaja provided all the gems required for the necklace. But the necklace did help Cartier make a name for itself in the West. When Jacques Cartier visited India and saw up close the stunning gemstone collection of several Indian rulers it gave him the opportunity to present the western world with designs and stones that were never seen before.
Jacques Cartier even exhibited Maharaja Bhupinder Singh’s jewellery collection, including the Patiala necklace in Paris and it gathered visitors from all over the globe who were left in awe.
But, in 1948 (right after India’s independence from the British) the necklace was reported missing from the royal treasure of Patiala. After nearly 34 years, the DeBeers diamond mysteriously made a re-appearance, but this time, without the necklace and even more strangely this reappearance was during a 1982 Sotheby’s auction. Back then, it was valued at a whopping $3 million. Another 16 years later, parts of the necklace were found in an old antique shop in London and this time it was not only without the De Beers diamond but also without the other big diamonds embellished in the choker.
At that time, the necklace was bought by Cartier, who replaced all the missing diamonds with replicas. A stunning masterpiece from India’s rich heritage was reduced to its carcass, one of the many riches that was leeched out of India in the wake of Britain’s colonialism.
It is believed that if the necklace had been in its original form today, it would have been worth approximately $30 million.