The R.B. Chetty Indian antique gold necklace, set with 72 coins, comprising Victorian half sovereigns, 43 x 1892, 7 x 1890, 6 x 1891, 1 x 1893, 1 x 1889, 1 x 1887, 12 later fantasy 'half sovereigns' coins marked 'Prize Money and some 'Kumbakonm', all coins have the portrait of Queen Victorian on the obverse and the heraldic shield on the reverse, total weight 444g.
History. R.B Chetty (RAMASWAMI BALAGURI CHETTY) was a wealthy businessman and renowned philanthropist who arrived in South Africa in 1896. He lived in Durban from 1902 and became principal of the Durban Imperial Cigar manufacturing company amongst other business interests he owned salt mines and plantations. In 1908 represented South African Indians at the Conference of the Indian National Congress in Madras and was one of the wealthiest supporters of Mahatma Gandhi.
In the 1936 South African Indian Who’s Who, R.G.Chetty is listed. He was active in the support of better working conditions for Indian immigrants in South Africa. He later purchased a villa in the district of Kasturbai in Porayar which is now a national monument to Mahatma Ghandi’s wife Kasturbai Ghandi
The impressive gold necklace was commissioned by Chetty for his wedding in the late 1800’s. It has been recognised in Hindu culture as an important symbolic ceremonial piece of jewellery. It was used during Hindu rituals and blessings at religious temples. It was also loaned to one of the top temples in India, Sabarimala Temple of Swami Ayyapan on Big Festival days to adorn the God.
The necklace is set with 72 gold cons mostly Victoria half sovereigns but also some late fantasy (privately struck ) gold coins all with the portrait of Queen Victoria 0n the obverse and the royal heraldic shield on the reserve. They are beautifully set in scroll and engraved individual mounts on a heavy 22 carat neck lace finely with a clasp etched ‘RBC’
The necklace has been handed down through the Chetty family and is being sold by his great granddaughter who also wore this necklace on her wedding day.