At Bonhams Islamic and Indian Sale

Islamic and Indian Art including Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art
24 Apr 2018
London, New Bond Street

A pair of gold pendant earrings from the collection of Maharini Jind Kaur, the last Sikh ruler of the Punjab, is to be sold at Bonhams Islamic and Indian sale in London on Tuesday 24 April. It is estimated at £20,000-30,000.

Jind Kaur was the final wife of Maharajah Ranjit Singh – 'The Lion of the Punjab' – and the only one not to commit Sati or ritual suicide on his death in 1836. When her five- year old son Duleep was proclaimed Maharajah in 1843, Jind was appointed Regent. The Punjab empire stretched from the Indian Ocean to the Himalayas and the court was fabled, not only for its artistic and scientific achievements, but also for its opulence and riches. The British in the guise of the East India Company invaded and annexed the Punjab, despite dogged armed opposition organised and led by Jind. She was deposed in 1846, separated from her son and imprisoned. Her personal wealth was confiscated, and the state Treasury plundered by the British army – the Koh-i-Noor and the Timur Ruby were sent back to London as gifts for Queen Victoria.

Jind made a daring escape from captivity, and fled to Kathmandu where the King of Nepal kept her under virtual house arrest at the request of the British who saw her as a continued threat. Duleep was sent to England, converted to Christianity and was adopted as a godson by Queen Victoria. Mother and son were eventually reunited after 13 and a half years apart in 1861.

Jind moved to England to be with Duleep, and her jewellery, including the pendant earrings in the Bonhams sale, were returned to her. She died in 1863, her health broken by the years of hardship. After Jind's death, Duleep's attempts to return to the Punjab, and fulfil his mother's dream of assuming his ancestral position, were thwarted by the British government. He died in Paris at the age of 55. His daughter – and Jind's granddaughter – Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, was a prominent suffragette.

Bonhams head of Islamic and Indian art Oliver White said, "These gold earrings are beautiful pieces of jewellery in their own right. They are also an important reminder of a courageous woman who endured the loss of her kingdom, and persecution and privation, with great dignity and fortitude."


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest and most renowned auctioneers, offering fine art and antiques, motor cars and jewellery. The main salerooms are in London, New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong, with auctions also held in Knightsbridge, Edinburgh, Paris, San Francisco and Sydney. With a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 22 countries, Bonhams offers advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full list of forthcoming auctions, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit

  1. Lucinda Bredin
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 7468 8363
  2. Oliver White
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 7468 8303
    FaxFax: +44 20 7468 8283

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