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Van Cleef & Arpels. The set of Her Highness Princess Salimah Aga Khan. Special order of the Indian necklace by H.H. Prince Aga Khan, 1971, Private Collection.

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Van Cleef & Arpels. The set of Her Highness Princess Salimah Aga Khan. Indian bracelet (one of a pair transformed from the necklace), 1971, Private Collection.

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Van Cleef & Arpels. The set of Her Highness Princess Salimah Aga Khan. Indian pendant (transformed from the necklace), 1971, Private Collection.

Formerly in the Collection of Her Highness the Begum Aga Khan, the Indian necklace is a remarkable example of the transformability of Van Cleef & Arpels’ creations, as it truly shows that metamorphosis can happen through the simple opening of a clasp.

Her Highness Princess Salimah Aga Khan was born Sally Croker-Poole in India in 1940, during the last days of the British Raj. A woman of great beauty, she was a fashion model prior to marrying His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan in 1969. They lived in France, spending summers in Sardinia and winters in Saint Moritz with Europe’s high society.

Not only was Her Highness Princess Salimah a socialite of her time, but she also had a genuine love and flair for art and jewelry. Throughout her life she amassed an exquisite collection of jewels, each unique and extraordinary, and each set with superb gemstones.

Among these exceptional jewels stands an impressive Indian set comprising of a yellow gold necklace which converts into two bracelets and a detachable pendant. The bracelets can also be connected together and worn as a choker. This unique set consists of 44 18thcentury emeralds weighing 478 carats and 745 circular-cut diamonds totaling 52 carats.

(Photos & text by courtesy of http://www.vancleefarpels.com)