Maharani Jindan Kaur's necklace (Photo: Twitter)
Money-Advice-Trust

An emerald and seed-pearl necklace owned by Maharani Jindan Kaur, the wife of Sikh emperor Maharaja Ranjit Singh, has been auctioned for £187,000 in London.

The necklace was initially estimated to fetch somewhere between £80,000 and £120,000.

Kaur is the final and the only one of Maharaja’s wives not to commit Sati, a practice where a widow threw herself on to her husband’s funeral pyre.

The necklace was among a number of other treasures from the Lahore Treasury auctioned as part of the ‘Bonhams Islamic and Indian Art Sale’ in London.

The entire sale, which had a number of items dating back to the Raj era, made an overall total of £1,818,500.

“In a highly successful sale, the Sikh treasures stood out with pride of place going to the magnificent necklace from the fabled Lahore Treasury that once belonged to the formidable and courageous Jindan Kaur,” Oliver White, Bonhams Head of Indian and Islamic Art, was quoted as saying by Press Trust of India.

“The high price reflected fierce and competitive bidding in the room, on the phones and over the internet,” White said.

As Regent to her five-year-old son Duleep Singh, who was proclaimed Maharaja of Punjab in 1843, Kaur organised armed resistance to the British invasion. However, she was captured and imprisoned.

Escaping to Kathmandu, Kaur was kept under house arrest by the King of Nepal, before eventually moving to England where she was reunited with her son and her jewellery, including the necklace that was auctioned.

Among the other Sikh treasures on the sale included a gold-thread-embroidered, velvet-clad leather bow and arrow holder made for Maharaja Ranjit Singh, which sold for 100,000 pounds.

“The quiver was made purely for ceremonial purposes and appears to have been rarely worn. As a result, it is in excellent condition,” said White.

It is believed that the Maharaja commissioned the quiver in 1838 to wear at the wedding of his eldest son.

A Mughal emerald seal bearing the name of Marian Hastings went under the hammer for 181,250 pounds.

Hastings was the second wife of Warren Hastings, the first Governor General of India (1773-1785).

A ‘Lockwood Kipling Album’ by artist, curator and school administrator Lockwood Kipling, father of English poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling, sold for 125,000 pounds.

The collection of 120 photographs was offered as a fascinating insight into Punjab in the last quarter of the 19th century.