YouTuber Emma Chamberlain’s Met Gala necklace, believed to have been stolen from Indian royalty, sparks debate

Twitter users have expressed mixed opinions about YouTuber Emma Chamberlain’s famous Met Gala, a diamond choker designed by Cartier, which was allegedly stolen by the British in India.

The necklace, lent to the vlogger for the event, would have disappeared from the Royal Treasury of Patiala around 1948. It had previously belonged to Indian ruler Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, one of the richest men in the world during his reign from 1900 to 1938.

At the center of the choker is a 23.6 carat golf ball-sized yellow De Beers diamond, at one time the seventh largest in the world. With an additional 2,930 diamonds, the necklace has a total weight of over 1,000 carats.

The necklace is said to have resurfaced in a London store in 1998, where French luxury brand Cartier, which specializes in high-end jewelry, later acquired it.

Netizens throughout the week commented on the necklace Chamberlain, who has more than 11.4 million YouTube subscribers, wore to the Met Gala on May 2.

“Okay, so no one is going to talk about Emma Chamberlain literally wearing a necklace worn by a South Asian king at the Met Gala? When it comes to South Asians, it’s always ignored and dismissed TALK ABOUT THIS” , commented a user with the hashtag #culturalappropriation.

“This fills me with rage, this level of disrespect is unacceptable,” another user wrote.

Others weren’t as impressed, arguing that Chamberlain was not to blame.

“Please why did I see someone say they thought Emma Chamberlain should have kept the Maharaj’s necklace and brought it back to India…as if she had that much power.”

Some simply didn’t find the situation problematic, with several netizens saying “no one cares”.

S. Vijay Kumar, founder of the India Pride Project, a citizen platform that traces India’s lost treasures, explained the difficulty of asserting ownership of stolen antiquities.

He cited the Koh-i-Noor and Golconda Orlov diamond as other examples of smuggled jewelry that found its way to other countries, including the latter which is currently in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia.

“It is a pity that India is not asserting its clout by seeking to stop open auctions and the display of its looted treasures,” he added.

The ambiguity of international laws makes it almost impossible to obtain stolen objects, especially since many of them have no documents to trace the history of their ownership.

Feature image via Getty/ Twitter

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