Reuters news and many other sources report that a rare, pearl and gemstone, 150-year-old canopy from India is expected to ring the register for an estimated $5 million when it is auctioned by Sotheby’s on March 24. The piece is part of a larger auction of Indian and Southeast Asian Works of Art in New York.
The magnificent piece includes over 500,000 pearls, as well as diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds, all sewn on to silk. A floral pattern in a "Persian-style" of vines made with colored beads circle the canopy. The canopy is part of a set, which included four large rectangular jewel-encrusted carpets. One of the rectangular carpets was sold at an auction in Doha, Qatar in 2009 for $5.4 million.
The canopy dates from around 1865, when the Maharaja of Baroda, in the present-day Indian state of Gujarat, commissioned it. It is believed that the piece was intended to be a gift to decorate the tomb of the Prophet Mohammed in Medina, in what is now Saudi Arabia.
This just might make a great gift for your loved one if you happen to have an extra 5.5 million in your pocket.