Restoring a Gem

When Maharajah Sir Bhupindar Singh of Patiala commissioned a necklace from Cartier in 1928, he wanted a stunning showpiece for the famous De Beers diamond purchased by his father. The resulting necklace was adorned with nearly 3,000 diamonds totaling 962.25 cts.—including the 234.69-ct. yellow De Beers diamond mined in 1888. It was one of the largest necklaces ever created by a jeweler. Unlike many Cartier creations, however, the Patiala necklace was not preserved through the decades. After India declared its independence in 1947, the jewels of the country's royalty began disappearing, and the piece was not seen again for several decades. In 1982, the De Beers stone was rediscovered at an auction in Geneva. The remainder of the necklace, however, would not be found for another 16 years, when it was discovered in grave disrepair in London. When Cartier reacquired the piece in 1998,
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