Sita Devi Of Baroda: The Maharani Who Lived Life Queen Size

From travelling with thousands of sarees to owning awe-inspiring jewellery pieces such as the famous Baroda Pearl Necklace, Maharani Sita Devi of Baroda, lived a lavish and opulent life. She even customised a gold tongue cleaner from Van Cleef & Arpels, and her cigarette holder was encrusted with rubies.
Sita devi

Sita Devi of Baroda. (Photo: Instagram)

The royal families of erstwhile kingdoms in India were no strangers to leading lives of luxury, tales of which have gone down in history. Maharani Sita Devi of Baroda had a penchant for expensive things. The Maharani married into the Baroda royal household in 1943 when she wed Maharaja Pratap Singh Gaekwad. This was her second marriage. The flamboyant royal couple would often go on world tours together, and reportedly, Maharani would travel with at least 1,000 sarees. Each saree had coordinated shoes, and she had an awe-inspiring jewellery collection.
According to Christie's New York, "Upon marrying the Maharaja, Sita Devi received jewels from the Baroda treasury that dated back to Mughal times, as well as the renowned seven-strand pearl necklace and the three-row diamond necklace suspending the 'Star of the South' and the 'English Dresden.' While many of Sita Devi’s jewels were sold in Monaco in later years, the seven-strand pearl necklace remained a part of the Baroda Royal Treasury." The seven-strand Baroda pearl necklace was one of the most coveted jewellery pieces in the history of royal jewels.
Maharani Sita Devi of Baroda ordered a bracelet from Cartier London in 1953. The bracelet was made of natural pearls and diamonds. She also ordered similar earrings from Van Cleef & Arpels, a French luxury jewellery company that was a favourite of the Maharani. She was so fond of their work that she even customised a tongue cleaner made of gold from them. Her cigarette holder was encrusted with rubies.
Sita Devi had sold a pair of emerald and diamond anklets to jeweller Harry Winston. The stones from the anklet was reset by the jeweller into a necklace which was bought by Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor. The Maharani of Baroda had been nicknamed Wallis Simpson of India because she was a divorcee who had married a member of royal family. The globe trotting Maharani was a social butterfly who met Wallis at a ball in New York. When she saw Wallis wearing the necklace, she commented, "They looked better on my feet." This left the Duchess embarrassed who returned the necklace to Harry Winston.
At the Ascot Gold Cup of 1969, she wore a 30 carat sapphire on her right hand for good charm, and invited everyone to touch it.
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