The carpet, slightly over 5? x 8? in size, was commissioned by the Maharajah of the Indian state of Baroda in 1865.
This splendid carpet has a surface that is entirely embellished, created using an estimated two million natural seed pearls, known as “Basra” pearls originally collected in the waters of the Gulf. The design is picked out in coloured glass beads and the whole richly encrusted and embellished with gold set diamonds and precious stones in their hundreds… Across the centre there are three large round ‘rosettes’ each made of table cut diamonds set in silvered gold. Further smaller diamond rosettes in the border, all of which are embellished with sapphires, rubies and emeralds set in gold.
The carpet was publicly displayed at the Delhi Exhibition in 1902, and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1985. In 2009 it sold at a Sotheby’s auction for $5.5 million — via Neatorama