Shah Jahan, the fifth Mughal emperor, lived every part of life in excess—exquisite, extravagant excess. In the early 17th century, he ruled a kingdom stretching across what is now India and Pakistan from the Peacock Throne, a seat encrusted with diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires and a 50-carat, pear-shaped pearl. He fathered more than a dozen children and took 11 wives. When his most beloved bride, Mumtaz Mahal, died in 1631, he commissioned a white-marble mausoleum for her. It took 22 years and more than 20,000 laborers to build her final resting place, known as the Taj Mahal.
In the centuries that followed, the glittering objects of Shah Jahan and other Mughal maharajahs were among the most coveted gems and precious artifacts in the world. And no treasure hunter amassed a more impressive collection than Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al-Thani, a Qatari prince whose pieces range from 17th-century Mughal weapons to 21st-century Cartier jewels. Now Sheik Al-Thani is putting more than 300 items up for sale in a highly anticipated auction at Christie’s on June 19.
Read more about the World’s Greatest Jewelry Collection online at Forbes.com HERE