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Thursday, 27 September, 2001, 17:23 GMT 18:23 UK
300-year-old gem fetches 1.5m
The Mughal Emerald
The Mughal Emerald was found in Colombia
A unique 300-year-old emerald has fetched more than 1.5m at an auction of Indian artefacts.

The Mughal Emerald, which weighs over 217 carats, dates from 1695 and is the only known carved, inscribed and dated emerald of the period.

It was bought on Thursday by an anonymous bidder at Christie's auction house in London.

The emerald is thought to have belonged to an officer of Emperor Aurangzeb, the last of the great Mughal rulers.

Spectacular sarpech

Inscribed with a Shi'a prayer, the rectangular stone is a vivid green colour rarely seen in such large emeralds.

The stone was discovered in Colombia by the Spanish conquistadors and would have reached South America through trade during the Mughal dynasty.

Other lots at auction included a spectacular 200-year-old sarpech, or turban ornament.

This sold for more than 1.3m, twice the estimated selling price.

The ornament is studded with 300 carats of flat Indian diamonds and 300 carats of fine emerald beads.

The sale, which included other jewellery, furniture, and a series of paintings by European artists who visited India during the days of the Raj, fetched more than 4.8m in total.

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See also:

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