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An antique ivory and multi-gem elephant

The carved ivory elephant, with cat's eye chrysoberyl eyes and ivory tusks with gold detail and caps, wearing a gold ropework chain with a gold bell, ornately decorated with a vari-cut multi-colored sapphire, ruby, emerald, star sapphire, star ruby and cat's eye chrysoberyl headdress and saddle cloth, extending gold tassels, topped by a sculpted gold howdah and umbrella, with pearl tassels and multi-gem accents, the feet decorated with gold ropework bands and multi-colored gem anklets, with gold toenails, circa 1900, 8½ x 9 x 4¼ ins., in a purple velvet fitted case with two silk cushions. Est. $80,000 - $120,000 - Sold $170,500

NOTE: The elephant was, and still is, a symbol of great power and prestige in India. Right from the Mughal era through the years of the Raj, they have been used to carry Emperors, Maharajahs and members of Princely India through important processions. Their mounts were always elaborately decorated with vibrantly colored headdresses and saddle cloths, their tusks covered in gold caps, jeweled anklets on their feet and a gem-set and silk-cushioned howdah for the master to sit on often with a golden umbrella or chattra, an ancient symbol of Indian Royalty.

Christie's. Jewels: The New York Sale. 22 April 2009. New York, Rockefeller Plaza www.christies.com Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2009