The auction at London’s Royal Exchange will see a pair rare diamond-emerald spectacles, which were seized from an Indian princely Treasury.

According to Sotheby’s auction house, the lenses were installed in Mughal-era frames between 1890 and 1890.

The spectacles will be offered at auction for £1.5m-2.5m ($2m-$3.4m) each, the auction house said.

The first exhibition of these items will take place in Hong Kong or London in October ahead of the auction.

Edward Gibbs chairman, Sotheby’s Middle East and India said, “These exceptional curiosities connect myriad threads-from the technical mastery, the genius, craftsmanship, and the vision of patron who chose two pairs glasses that were unlike anything seen before.”

These spectacles are not known who they were ordered from, though it’s possible that they belong to the Mughals. The dynasty which ruled India in 16th-17th centuries was known for their artistic and architectural successes.

Sotheby’s claimed that two glasses were created from the shapes of a diamond as well as an emerald.

It said that the quality and purity the gems are extraordinary, and such stones would have no doubt been reserved for an emperor.”

These lenses are made from one natural diamond and cleaved together as a pair. They were likely sourced from Golconda, south India. One natural Colombian emerald is responsible for the teardrop-shaped emeralds.

Sotheby’s stated that ordinary lenses are only meant to improve vision, but these filters could be used to aid spiritual illumination – using diamonds to lighten and emeralds to protect against evil.

The auction house claims that the most famous example of this type of glasses can be found in Pliny’s Natural History, which tells of the Roman Emperor Nero watching gladiatorial matches through a precious greenstone.

Seneca, Nero’s tutor was an expert in light reflection, mirrors and optics. They were considered to be the first spectacles ever made, according to the statement.


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