As though ruby eyes and diamond teeth were not enough to make the small gold head of a tiger truly shine, the goldsmith dotted its face with yet more gemstones and encircled its neck with emeralds and more rubies. Made about 1790, it is among the older pieces on display in “Treasures from India: Jewels from the Al-Thani Collection,” on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. By contrast, in one of the exhibition’s most recent pieces, diamonds cluster in a 2013 Cartier necklace with a 57-carat, drop-shape pendant, its platinum settings virtually invisible — all the eye registers is the liquid beauty of flawless stones. Woven into the dense fabric of history that separates these two works is a story of jewels and jewelry not just from India (as the show’s title states) but also for and inspired by India.
Read More: A Trove Both Precious and Powerful