London: As per media reports Maharani Jind Kaur’s earrings sold at Bonhams Islamic and Indian sale here on Tuesday for a record price £175,000 (approximately Rs 1.6 crore).
Oliver White, Bonhams head of Islamic and Indian art, said: “These gold earrings are a powerful reminder of a courageous woman who endured the loss of her kingdom, and persecution and privation, with great dignity and fortitude”, reads a quote in Hindustan Times.
The earrings belonged to the youngest wife of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. She went on to be appointed as the de facto ruler of Punjab before being captured by the British. It was only many years later when she arrived in England that her jewellery, including the earrings on sale, were handed back to her.
Jind Kaur’s five-year-old son Duleep Singh was proclaimed Maharaja of Punjab in 1843, she was appointed Regent.
The Punjab Empire at the time stretched from the Indian Ocean to the Himalayas and the court was fabled for its artistic and scientific achievements and opulence and riches.
The East India Company invaded and annexed Punjab, despite armed opposition organised and led by Jind Kaur. She was deposed in 1846, separated from her son and imprisoned.
According to Bonhams’ historians, the Maharani’s personal wealth was confiscated and the state Treasury plundered by the British Army.
The famous Koh-i-Noor diamond and the Timur Ruby were sent back to London as gifts for Queen Victoria. Mother and son were eventually reunited after 13-and-a-half-years in 1861 when Kaur moved to England to be with her son. She died in 1863.