The Chandel Dynasty was responsible for constructing the Temples of Kandariya and Khajuraho near the Kalinjar Fort, adorned with sculptures and artwork renowned as some of India’s most historically significant masterpieces. The earliest records of these gemstones can be attributed to Maharajadhiraj Kalinjar Adhipati, Lord of Kalinjar.
During this period, it was customary to have sandstone sculptures that identically mimicked their precious gem counterparts. Tracing these gemstone sculptures back to one of the greatest monument complexes in Indian culture, the Temples of Khajuraho, we find that they perfectly match their sandstone counterparts on the temple walls, which depicted youthful forms of ravishing female beauty.
The cut and polished gemstones graced the crowns of Chandel royalty. Emerald statues and loose gemstones adorned the facades of the Hindu and Jain temple complexes. These stones reveal non-modern cutting techniques dating back to 800 AD. Loose gemstones were also used as personal effects for Maharajadhiraj, including headdresses, costumes, and for decoration in his personal chambers.
These gemstones were passed down from Lord of Kalinjar (945-1002 AD) to Maharaja Rao Vidyadhara (1017-1029 AD) of the Chandela Rajput clan. Though Maharaja Rao Vidyadhara initially repelled invading forces from Mahmud of Ghazni, the Chandel Dynasty was eventually defeated by Alauddin Khilji’s Muslim forces.
Alauddin Khilji reigned for 20 years, seizing statues and their jewels. The gemstones became a part of the crown and throne of Alauddin Khilji, who was the second and most prominent ruler of the Khilji dynasty, and the first Muslim to rule what we know as today as the Indian subcontinent.
The Khilji family eventually sold these gemstones to over 60 different families during their reign.
The Prasad family of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India was a major purchaser of the assets and sold them through trade with Asia and Europe throughout the eighteen and nineteen hundreds. The family then moved to the Americas, along with their sapphires and rubies.
The first of these stones were acquired by a wealthy collector in 1947. This included 1,047 rubies/sapphires and carved emerald statues from 42 lots, totaling 220,397 carats. From 1954-1965, the balance of the collection was acquired with the purchase of the Khajuraho models.
In 2008, this wealthy collector hired an independent firm to inventory, catalog, inspect, and appraise his collection of gemstones and statues. The cuts revealed non-modern cutting equipment, verifying the origination between 801-1030 AD.
In 2021, a portion of the collection was sold to BPMT Growth Strategies. Today, these stones are being made available to investors worldwide via Genesis Gems real-asset NFTs.