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Bid to recover Ranjitsinh's necklace

The necklace is worth around #1.6 million and was a prized jewel of the great cricketer, reports Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Jan 21, 2006 20:13 IST
Vijay Dutt

According to a media report, the present Jamsaheb of Jamnagar, Jam Sataji is making an attempt to get back Ranjitsinh's necklace worth around £1.6 million back to India. It was a prized jewel of the great cricketer, a pendant necklace strung with two massive, carved emeralds.

The necklace was strung by Jacques Cartier, a friend of Ranji, using emeralds weighing 155ct and 200ct. It was rumoured that they dated back to the Mughal rulers. But, the necklace somehow disappeared after 1947.

Its whereabouts was not known for 40 years, until headlines here described a lot in a sale of Indian antiques by Christie's. The Jamsheb had then written to the Indian High Commissioner asking him to intervene. Ultimately the anonymous seller withdrew it from the sale. Sataji says the necklace is actually worth less than a million as the emeralds are of modest quality.

He was told that his mother sold the necklace to a vendor in Bombay in 1968, according to the Telegraph. Christie's did not reveal the identity of the present owner but agreed to convey messages from Jamsaheb to him.

An attempt, the report said, is being made to raise money and persuade the vendor to sell it back. The vendor and his family live in Britain.

Tribute to the Great cricketer

In a nostalgic tribute to Ranjitsinh, the great cricketer was recently described as the "Indian who beat the English at their own game. It is hard to overstate the impact the young Indian made on late Victorian and Edwardian England".

Before he joined Cambridge University in 1891, no one in those days ever thought that any native from the Raj might be able to match the "stout" Englishman at his national game, cricket. But within four years of joining Cambridge he made his debut for England scoring 64 and 154 against Australia.

He is even now remembered as embodiment of Victorian England's symbiosis who was lionised at home in Savoy and Buckingham Palace. At Lord's they still talk about the records he broke.

He is the only "Englishman" to score five double centuries in one season. No one has scored 3000 runs in an English season in as few innings (40) as he did in 1900. He topped the English batting averages between 1904 and 1912 and the 180 he made before lunch for Sussex in 1902.

Until the retirement of Geoff Boycott in 1986, Ranji's career average of 56.4 was the highest for a cricketer based in this country.

First Published: Jan 21, 2006 20:13 IST