In 1926, Sir Bhupinder Singh, the Maharaja of Patiala, traveled to Paris to visit the workshop of couture jeweler Louis Cartier. Along with his retinue of servants and wives, he brought a trunk filled with diamonds and precious gemstones, both loose jewels and those already set into pieces of magnificent ornamentation.
In 1900, at the age of 9, Bhupinder Singh had not only inherited his royal title following his father’s death, he had also gained possession of the family’s crown jewels. A quarter-century later, he decided it was time to give his ancestral bling a little update. He wanted his precious treasures reset in the style currently en vogue in Paris.
Cartier was not the only Parisian jeweler to receive the Maharaja of Patiala’s business. But that particular visit resulted in the single biggest and most expensive commission Cartier, or any other premier jeweler, had received to date. Among the pieces that the famed Parisian jeweler created for their honored client, pieces that when finished filled “casket after casket,” according to Cartier, was one that continues to be spoken about with awe: the Patiala Necklace.