About the Mahal Collection
Mahal means palace in Hindi and Barbara Bixby took as her inspiration the many palaces and temples she encountered in her worldwide travels. She comments: “Exquisitely carved dragons stood guard outside of the temples in China. At Thailand’s Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha Temple, the brilliantly colored mosaics, incredible carvings, and jewel-tone paintings provided a myriad of ideas.” Interpreting these colors and images in precious metals and vivid gemstones was the catalyst for the Mahal Collection.
Plaques and Torques
The plaque bracelets and necklaces are perhaps the best known designs in the Mahal collection. They combine all the elements that, taken together, make up this exotic collection. Ornate carving serves as a backdrop for 4-gem clusters (usually pear shapes but sometimes a combination of pear and round), crisply-faceted baguettes, and lush pearls. Together, these elements form pieces that are exotic, romantic, and sophisticated. Architectural influences are apparent and harken to sumptuous palaces.
The gems used in the Mahal collection are richly colored and the combinations are vibrant: peridot with blue topaz and white pearls; rhodolite garnet with citrine and black pearls; iolite with amethyst and gray pearls.
Somewhat more restrained in design and slimmer in profile, the torque cuffs feature highly saturated gems (blue topaz, amethyst, citrine, or peridot) in a fat pear shape, accented with stylized lotus-leaf motif in gold. This cuff style is known among Bixby afficionados as the “torch” cuff.
Two styles of shield rings were designed for the Mahal collection, picking up on the 4-stone cluster element. One design was more pointed and had 4 pear-shaped stones, bezel-set in gold, surrounding a gold lotus flower. The later design has a more rounded profile and is slightly domed. The gems on this style are larger than the earlier design and are not bezel set. The center is a rosette with center diamond; gold lotus flowers flank the gem section. Both styles have beaded perimeters. Earrings and charms were done in variations of the 4-stone design; some of the earrings feature pearls.
Dragons and More
I was surprised to discover that the dragon enhancer and bracelet were Mahal designs, but they are. All versions feature the 4-stone clusters (or pave, in the case of the 18K bracelet).
Baguettes and Pearls
The other — and very popular — Mahal design showcases beautifully-cut baguette gems combined with pearls. Two styles of rings (east-west and north-south) were made. Other baguette pieces were dangle earrings with pearls and several types of bracelets. The bracelet styles include: cuffs with one or two baguettes (citrine, blue topaz, amethyst, rhodolite); link bracelets are either a straignt line style, with each baguette capped by an ornate SS/18K “cap,” and a second version that alternates baguettes and bow-shaped links capped with pearls.
Visit more Bixby pages:
- Barbara Bixby Jeweled Art
- Barbara Bixby Rarities
- Barbara Bixby Paisley Designs
- Barbara Bixby Vessels
- Bixby Locks
- Visual Guide
- Bixby Prototypes & Anomalies
- Bixby Gallery