Al Thani Collection: Bejewelled Treasures

The Al Thani Bejewelled Treasures collection contains pieces from the early 17th century to the present day. It features jewellery made in/inspired by India.

On the 17th February, I visited the Al Thani Exhibition in the V&A museum, which is open till the 10th April 2016.

''These bejewelled treasures highlight the exceptional skills of goldsmiths within the Indian subcontinent. The most recent pieces also demonstrate that cross-cultural exchanges continue to inspire contemporary jewellery design in India and Europe.''

The exhibition showcased exquisite jewellery from the past to the present, each piece with a unique background. These included precious stones fashioned for the Mughal Emperors, and pieces showing the Western influence on the Indian techniques. Almost all of these treasures were bejewelled with many, many gemstones, enhancing its quality and creating an overall beautiful image. I saw many complex and intricate designs which I have not seen before, due to the unique styles from the past. I would definitely recommend booking tickets to this exhibition. All the pieces were stunningly gorgeous and I loved seeing the different ways of incorporating large gems to create masterpieces.

I learnt quite a few new techniques which professionals use, such as lightly oxidising a surface to dull the silver colour. This can be used to create multiple colour effects. The exhibition also shows a video of the making of a pair of traditional enamelled earrings, and an Indian method of setting diamonds. Complex machinery and technology was used on these pieces to create intricate designs. Some pieces were made using silver sheet metal, a tool I had initially wanted to use for my jewellery making, but decided against since I chose metal clay instead

If I had to say one bad thing, it would be that no sketching or photography was allowed; however images of some of the pieces are up on the V&A website.

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