Colored Stones / Diamonds / Industry

The Joy of Specs: Sotheby’s Selling Diamond and Emerald Glasses


You can’t get these at LensCrafters.

On Oct. 27, Sotheby’s London will sell two pairs of jeweled glasses—one made out of diamonds, the other of emeralds—that are believed to have originated in 17th-century Mughal India.

The diamond pair is named the Halo of Light, and the emerald pair is called the Gate of Paradise. They each carry estimates of 1.5 million pounds to 2.5 million pounds, or $2 million to $3.4 million, and will be sold at the auction house’s Arts of the Islamic World & India sale.

The glasses had previously been in a private collector’s hands for almost 50 years.

According to Sotheby’s, the glasses are believed to have been commissioned by an unknown prince. An also-unknown artist fashioned the pair from a diamond weighing over 200 cts. and an emerald weighing over 300 cts.

The pair of diamond specs is believed to have come from a diamond weighing over 200 cts.

“The quality and purity of the gemstones is itself extraordinary and stones of this size would no doubt have been the reserve of an emperor,” Sotheby’s said in a statement.

The auction house said the diamonds weigh 25 cts. in total, are flawless, and likely originated from the legendary Golconda mine in southern India. The emeralds, which are teardrop-shape and set in diamonds, weigh 27 cts. and are believed to have originated from a single Colombian gemstone.

The pair of emerald specs. Wearing emeralds was believed to protect the wearer from evil spirits.

“While ordinary lenses merely function to improve sight,” the auction house said, “these filters were aids for spiritual enlightenment—with diamonds thought to illuminate and emeralds believed to have held miraculous powers to heal and to ward off evil.”

Prior to the sale, Sotheby’s put the spectacles on public view for the first time, in Hong Kong from Oct. 7 to Oct. 11 and in London from Oct. 22 to Oct. 26.

(All photos courtesy of Sotheby’s)

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By: Rob Bates

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