Jewels of the Maharajah's wife to be auctioned
Jewels that once previously belonged to the fifth wife of a wealthy Indian maharaja, are to be auctioned in London - Photo : Martin Bureau/AFP
The eight pieces of jewellery, described by Christie's as consisting predominantly of art deco pieces, will be sold on December 12 and are expected to fetch more than 200,000 pounds (287,000 euros, 408,000 dollars).
The auctioneers estimated that a single emerald, diamond and rock crystal necklace will on its own draw bids up to 100,000 pounds.
"The tale of Anita Delgado (1890-1962), the fifth wife of Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala could have been written by the best of storytellers; however it is fact, not fiction," the auction house said in a statement.
Born in Malaga, Spain, in 1890 to a modest family, she was spotted by the Maharaja in the crowd of onlookers as visiting dignitaries and noblemen gathered in Madrid for the marriage of king Alfonso XIII in 1906.
After attending Delgado's dance performances at the Madrid cafe where she worked, the Maharaja several times requested the company of her and her family before they finally acquiesced. The pair were married in 1907.
Delgado became the Maharani of Kapurthala and they had one son, Ajit Singh, in 1908. But the couple divorced in 1925.
She died in 1962 and her son sold the eight pieces of jewellery to the current vendor's family, Christie's said.
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