A first for auctions in India: Gemstones go under hammer

A first for auctions in India: Gemstones go under hammer


New Delhi: After paintings, sculptures and installations, it is now the turn of gemstone sculptures to go the auction way.

Mumbai-based art and jewellery house Ma Passion is gearing up to hold an auction of sculptures of precious and semiprecious stones with the hope of reviving the ancient craft of gemstone carving said to have been handed down from the Mughals to the traditional Kumawat community in Jaipur.

“The auction of these miniatures would be treated as conventional art," said Dinesh Poddar, managing director of the art house.

Curated by art expert and author Nisha Janmwal the auction later this month would include 55 lots of hand carved statues including among others an emerald Ganesha with 1,000 mice, a crystal Buddha under the Bodhi tree and several nature based themes such as fishes and a group of flying horses.

“The intricate and painstakingly handcrafted ancient craft of Indian gemstone carving is on its way to becoming extinct and the craftsmen are a dying breed who are suffering due to a lack of patronage," Jamwal told PTI prior to a preview of select auction pieces in the capital.

Traditionally the market for gemstone carvings has been famous in the US and Germany, and collecting is a niche market but is now fast catching on in India too. The collectors have always been either royalty or high net worth individuals," he added.