The Maharaja of Baroda, Gaekwar Khande Rao, is the party responsible for one of the most magnificent pearl creations this world has ever seen. The Baroda Pearl Carpet is a work of art; more than 1.5 million pearls were sewn together by Gujarat jewelers to make this massive (2.72 x 1.62M) masterpiece.
Some say the carpet consists of 2.2 million pearls and beads. Apparently nobody has bothered to count, go figure. But let’s consider 1.5 million, the official estimate. Considering a generous average of one pearl per 500 gulf oysters, the carpet represents 750,000,000 million oyster souls. Kokichi Mikimoto, in perfect adept of Shinto and Buddhist religions, dedicated a temple for the souls of all the oysters who produced his pearls. Gaekwar Khande Rao, however, had no such considerations.
The Baroda Pearl Carpet went on the auction block recently. It attracted well-deserved attention, another museum piece following the recent double-strand necklace sharing the same name.
I know a couple of you are yawning out there. This is after all, old news. The carpet set a Qatar auction record three weeks ago, selling for $5.5 million. But it was sold to an undisclosed buyer!
So who are the tall poppies capable dishing up $5.5 million for a piece of pearling history in this dire economy? That's a lot of moolah for a secret purchase.
The undisclosed buyer is The Qatar Museum Authority. They purchased the carpet, and it is soon to be a masterpiece for some future “pearl project” in Qatar; the centrepiece, no doubt.