Emma Chamberlain wears Indian King’s diamond necklace to Met Gala 2022; here’s why it’s problematic

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Popular American Youtube star Emma Chamberlain made a splashing debut at the Met Gala 2022 this year dressed in Louis Vitton. But Chamberlin’s choice of jewellery has garnered more attention this year on the internet. 

Emma wore a diamond neckpiece that once belonged to Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, a part of Punjab in North India. Emma though in all her social media pages has attributed the piece of antique jewellery along with her diamond tiara and earrings to Cartier. 

The history

According to reports, the Maharaja Of Patiala, Bhupinder Singh, owned DeBeers diamonds and had commissioned Cartier to make a ceremonial necklace with the De Beers diamond as its centrepiece. The necklace was made in 1928 and was known as the Patiala Necklace. 

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It has five rows of platinum chains embellished with 2930 diamonds and some Burmese rubies. The slightly yellow De Beers diamond is placed at the centre. 

This was the most expensive piece of jewellery ever made in history and it would have cost some USD 30 million dollars today in its original form.

The Maharaja reportedly had bought the largest diamond in 1889 after it was mined from South Africa in 1888. The Maharaja had spotted it while it was on display at the Paris Universal exhibition. 

In 1948, the famed necklace went missing from the Patiala royal treasury. For 32 years, there was no trace of this necklace and it reappeared mysteriously during a Sotheby’s auction in 1982 but not in its entirety. Instead only the De Beers diamond was up for auction. Cartier bought the diamond at the auction. Then a  part of a necklace was found in an antique shop in London. Cartier later bought the necklace and replaced the missing stones with replicas.

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The controversy

Several netizens have pointed out that the display of a precious family heirloom at the Met Gala is distasteful as most do not know about its origin and also that the heritage jewellery has unfortunately changed hands and landed with Cartier. 

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Many also feel that the dark history attached to it- of misplacement and later being found years later by an auction house- makes the necklace one of a kind and there’s a need to treasure it. It also highlights the colonial past of India, where several such precious heritage jewellery of various royal families were transferred to the British due to unavoidable circumstances and were never returned to the original owner including the Kohinoor.

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Some Netizens also demanded a need for awareness of Indian culture and heritage amid the controversy. 

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