Jewels of the Maharajah’s wife to be auctioned

LONDON, Oct 1, 2007 (AFP) – Jewels that once previously belonged to Anita Delgado, a Spanish dancer who became the fifth wife of a wealthy Indian maharaja, are to be auctioned in London, auction house Christie’s said Monday. The eight pieces of jewellery, described by Christie’s as consisting predominantly of art deco pieces, will be sold on December 12 and are expected to fetch more than 200,000 pounds (287,000 euros, 408,000 dollars).

The auctioneers estimated that a single emerald, diamond and rock crystal necklace will on its own draw bids up to 100,000 pounds.

“The tale of Anita Delgado (1890-1962), the fifth wife of Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala could have been written by the best of storytellers; however it is fact, not fiction,” the auction house said in a statement.

Born in Malaga, Spain, in 1890 to a modest family, she was spotted by the Maharaja in the crowd of onlookers as visiting dignitaries and noblemen gathered in Madrid for the marriage of king Alfonso XIII in 1906.

After attending Delgado’s dance performances at the Madrid cafe where she worked, the Maharaja several times requested the company of her and her family before they finally acquiesced. The pair were married in 1907.

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