Youtuber Emma Chamberlain has found herself in some hot water in the weeks following the 2022 Met Gala. Although she hosted the Gala and was dressed by Louis Vitton, her diamond Cartier necklace has caught the eyes of disapproving internet sleuths. The necklace she wore once belonged to the Maharaja of Patiala. Some claim that the necklace was stolen as it was never returned to its native country. Many believe it is poor taste to allow an influencer to “flaunt stolen goods” on the Met Gala’s red carpet.
The diamond choker Chamberlain donned was once part of the famous Patiala Necklace. The Patiala Necklace was a piece of jewelry comprised of five chains and a neck collar. Cartier created the necklace in 1928 for Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, who was the Maharaja of Patiala.
In 1948, the Patiala Necklace went missing from the Royal Treasury of Patiala. In 1982, at a Sotheby’s auction in Geneva, the De Beers diamond reappeared and was sold for a large sum. Although the huge, yellow diamond was now accounted for, the rest of the Patiala Necklace was still missing.
Sixteen years later, in 1998, the Patiala Necklace reappeared in a small antique shop in London, although it was (obviously) missing the De Beers diamond and many of the other larger diamonds and gemstones that were once associated with the necklace. Cartier then bought the incomplete necklace and attempted to restore it to resemble the original.
So why is Emma Chamberlin facing backlash for wearing part of the Patiala Necklace? Many people believe that given the necklace’s Indian heritage, the piece of jewelry should have been returned to India.
This year’s Met Gala theme was “Gilded Glamour,” referring to the two-decade period between 1870 and 1890. In an interview with Vogue, Chamberlain discussed the necklace she was wearing but didn’t discuss its history. She did say, “during the Gilded Age, it was all about being extravagant and I’ve never seen a more extravagant necklace.”
People took to social media platforms to address their outrage over Chamberlain wearing this necklace. One Twitter user wrote, “Emma Chamberlain wearing the diamond choker that was stolen from the Maharaja of Patiala is ironically very on point for the gilded glamour theme.” Another user tweeted, “Yes nothing screams Gilded Glamour – than wearing heritage jewels of colonized POC.”
Over the past few days, both Emma Chamberlain and Cartier have faced considerable backlash for allowing an influencer to both wear and flaunt this stolen necklace. Up until now, most of the drama associated with the 2022 Met Gala has involved Kim Kardashian wearing Marilyn Monroe’s 1962 ‘Happy Birthday Mr. President’ dress on the red carpet. Perhaps this newest controversy will serve as a history lesson for those invested.