The now-famed Al Thani Collection, a travelling cornucopia of 6,000 works, has introduced the sheer otherworldliness of Mughal culture to audiences across the globe like no other. Before it takes up permanent residence in Paris next year, a rich cache of around 400 pieces is being offered for sale at Christie’s New York on 19 June. It begins its unmissable worldwide preview tour at Christie’s London this week.

‘Beginning in Mughal India, there are emeralds, diamonds, sapphires, rubies, weapons and objects bejeweled beyond belief,’ says François Curiel, chairman of Christie’s Europe. ‘From exceptional daggers worn by elite nobles to jewels inspired by Indian tradition and architecture, this auction presents a truly significant cultural moment.’ 

This sublimely subtle take on India’s rich craft traditions – a 17th-century carved ibex jade and ruby cup, from Northern India is indicative of that. Previously acquired by Emperor Qianlong of China, he was so mesmerised by it, he wrote an ode to its rare beauty and had it inscribed inside.

Commissioned by the fabled Maharaja of Patiala in 1931, the equally storied Cartier Patiala Ruby Choker is also on show. Once part of a magnificent three-part multi-strand ruby, diamond and pearl necklace, it was presumed lost to history until serious detective work linked this existing choker to the original jewel. §