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Two 19th C. Gem-Set Jade & 24K Gold Holdali Pendants

North India, possibly Agra, Mughal, Kundan, ca. late 19th to early 20th century CE. A brilliant pair of Indian Holdali pendants, both made from nephrite of pale green hues and decorated with birds and flowers delineated in 22+ karat gold with diamond, emerald, and spinel inlays in the truest Mughal tradition of Kundan work. The larger piece presents a flowering plant - perhaps symbolizing the Tree of Life - growing from a small vessel with a large bird sucking nectar from the flowers. The flowers are comprised of rose-red spinel cabochon petals with cut diamond centers, and emerald cabochon leaves - all outlined in gold. The bird is comprised of emerald cabochons for the body, head, and tailfeathers - as well as a spinel at the neck and a diamond wing. The flower pot and bud above contain spinel as well. On the verso, the leaf-shaped piece of nephrite is incised with an elaborate image of a flowering Tree of Life as well. Size: larger measures 2.625" W x 3.125" H (6.7 cm x 7.9 cm); 1.5- 2/5 diamond carats; largest emeralds and spinels ~ .5" W (1.3 cm)

The second nephrite jade Holdali pendant features two lovebirds amidst a flowering vine. The birds are comprised of emerald cabochons for the bodies, heads, necks, some wing and tailfeathers - as well as spinel crest feathers on both and a spinel beak for one. They also contain diamonds for wing plumage. The flowers are comprised of spinel cabochons and four more diamonds beneath the largest blooms.

The Holdali pendant with one bird sucking nectar from flowers includes: 4 diamonds, 23 emeralds, and 15 spinels. The Holdali pendant featuring lovebirds includes: 6 diamonds, 18 emeralds, and 22 spinels.

Holdali is a term used for such pendants of jade believed to be amulets with protective powers. Together these make for an stunning pair of precious pendants with dozens of precious gems and high karat gold adorning sumptuous nephrite!

Condition: Tiny chip to tailfeather of bird on larger pendant. Slight deposits on nephrite versos. Overall excellent.

Provenance: private House of Indus collection

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