A Qatari Prince’s Massive Jewelry Collection Is Up for Auction at Christie’s

From 17th-century weapons to 21st-century Cartier, the collection is set to rival Elizabeth Taylor's record breaking auction

A Tiffany Art Deco carved emerald and diamond brooch
A Tiffany Art Deco carved emerald and diamond brooch
Christie's
By Kayla Kibbe / June 14, 2019 12:30 pm

Jade-hilted daggers and massive 18th-century diamonds — these are a few of a Qatari prince’s favorite things. And now he’s putting some of them up for auction.

Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al-Thani is renowned for his impressive collection of rarities and valuables, of which more than 300 items will be up for sale in a much-anticipated auction at Christie’s on June 19, Forbes reported.

“What distinguishes this auction from many of the other Indians sales that we have put together is the scale, the quality of the works on offer and the range,” said Rahul Kadakia, the auction house’s international head of jewelry. “Everything is the best of its kind. We have almost 4,000 lots up for sale, and they range from $10,000 to $10 million,” he told Forbes.

Sheik Al-Thani began amassing his staggering collection just 10 years ago, after accepting an invitation to London’s Victoria and Albert Museum on a whim. Since then, Al-Thani has acquired a wide range of items spanning a vast breadth of history, from ancient goods of Mesopotamia to the finest 21st-century Cartier.

“It’s an encyclopedic collection,” said Amin Jaffer, the curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum who extended the invitation that first sparked Al-Thani’s affinity for all things glittering and rare.

One of the most coveted items at the upcoming auction is a 17th-century steel dagger made for Shah Jahan, a Mughal emperor known for his extravagant lifestyle. The jade-hilted dagger features an ornately engraved cherub and a flourish of Islamic script, and is considered one of the high points of the auction, according to William Robinson, Christie’s director of Islamic art.

The auction will also feature a glittering array of jewelry, including pendants, brooches, cuff links, necklaces, rings, bracelets, and earrings, as well as other valuables such as swords, powder horns and a bejeweled hookah.

The sale is projected to bring in tens of millions, and may even rival the record-breaking auction of Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry, which sold for $160 million in 2011. Christie’s is displaying the items at its Rockefeller Center headquarters ahead of the sale, so even if you’re not in the market to place a bid, you can still take a gander if you’re in the area.

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