At the Ambani Wedding Celebrations, a Dazzling Display of Jewels

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“That emerald necklace was what caught everyone’s attention at first, but it was all almost unfathomable,” said Stellene Volandes, the editor in chief of Town & Country. She noted the scarcity represented by ropes of the rarest natural pearls from the Arabian Sea; necklaces in the heavy, ornate rani haar style studded with diamonds; and headpieces known as maang tikka, made with deep green emeralds from the storied Muzo mines.

“You’d be very hard-pressed to find comparables for the sheer size and horsepower” of the jewels at the Ambani prewedding party, said Nico Landrigan, the president of the Verdura jewelry house in New York. “The Indians are a jewelry-obsessed culture in a category all their own. So you can only imagine what the actual wedding will bring out.”

Before the wedding, scheduled for July 12 to 14 in Mumbai, there was yet another lavish preparatory celebration and opportunity to flaunt big rocks — a cruise from the Tyrrhenian Sea in Palermo, Italy, to the Mediterranean in Cannes, France, on an ocean liner whose 2,400 staterooms had been retrofitted for the Ambanis as three-bedroom suites for 800 invited guests. “Basically, what the Ambanis are doing is displaying a kind of old-style Hollywood glam,” said Mr. Kumar of EKA. “You don’t see that with any other current billionaire moguls in Europe or America, at least not in the public realm.”

For Daniela Mascetti, the former chairwoman of Sotheby’s jewelry division in Europe and an author of “Understanding Jewelry,” a bible of the trade, the group more aptly compared to the Ambanis is the robber barons of the Industrial Age. “You have to look back to Vanderbilt or Gould, who also wanted big door-stoppers,” Ms. Mascetti said from London. “Let’s put it in a nice way,” she added. “If you are new money and you want to display wealth, you go big.”

Yet it is not altogether that simple. Certain Ambani jewels were crafted using the whopper stones, but that is not to suggest that the determining factor in commissioning them was size. “There is tremendous artistry in the work,” said Ms. Volandes of Town & Country.

Much of the Ambani jewels were designed by Viren Bhagat, among the more refined high jewelers, though also an assiduously private one. More than the size of individual stones like the stepped-cut emeralds, few save a detective like Mr. Kumar could predict their origins.

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