SMI 1: Enamelled armlet, belonging to Sophia Duleep Singh
Location: Sikh Empire, Lahore, Punjab
Present Location: Private collection
The armlet worn above the elbow is richly enamelled, the obverse set with various coloured stones including a coral, a pearl, an aquamarine foiled with orange, most likely a rose quartz foiled in red, a diamond, a rock crystal, a pink topaz, and orange moonstone, with turquoise and almandine garnet.
Item belonging to Maharani Jind Kaur and later by descent Princess Sophia Duleep Singh.
On arriving in London, the India Office returned to Maharani Jind Kaur her casket of Jewels from Lahore which had been confiscated when she had escaped from British custody. Jind Kaur lived in the UK from January 1861 where she remained until her death in Kensington, London, on 1 August 1863. Her jewels were passed down to her son Maharajah Duleep Singh and thence to his various children. Sophia and her sisters possessed an impressive collection of spectacular jewels inherited from their grandmother Jindan, including pearls, large diamond rings, and a number of ruby and spinel necklaces. This piece formed part of Princess Sophia Duleep Singh’s jewelry collection. This armlet was later gifted by the Princess to her personal maid and companion, and thence by descent, Private Collection.
Sophia was fined several times but bailiffs actually recovered her jewelry from Hampton Court Palace so that it could be sold at auction. Each time this happened friends of Sophia would ensure that nobody bid on the items and hence bringing the price down and the item being sold for a pittance. The item would be bought by Sophia’s suffragette friends and given back to her. Sophia would be in attendance at these auctions. (David Roberts, Suffragette: The Battle for Equality ( Pan Macmillan 2018).
PUBLISHED: See Peter Bance, Sovereign, Squire and Rebel: Maharajah Duleep Singh (2009)
EXHIBITED: The Maharajah Exhibition, Ancient House Museum, Thetford (2010-11)
Links with other Sikh Empire Jewelry
- Gold pendant, set with stones belonging to Maharani Jindan Kaur from the same collection.
- See other examples at the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh.