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'Maharaja' shows majesty of India with jewels, costumes, an elephant

Beginning Wednesday, you can get a glimpse of how princely rulers of India rocked extravagant jewelry and traveled via bejeweled elephant.

At the Field Museum, “Maharaja: The Splendor of India’s Royal Courts,” offers visitors a detailed look into the rarified world of the rulers of India from the 1700s to the 1940s, when India achieved independence from colonial Britain.

One of the highlights of the exhibit is Cartier’s Patiala necklace, commissioned by a maharaja to show off some family jewels. Constructed in 1928, the necklace is made of diamonds, topazes, smoky quartz and other gems. It took three years to complete and was, at the time, the largest commission Cartier had ever received.

Also included in the exhibit are costumes, weapons and an elephant replica that didn’t make the rounds in some of the other North American exhibit venues because of its size.

Read more about it in the Sun-Times.