The Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire, Collar
Image courtesy of „Handbuch der Ritter- und Verdienstorden aller Kulturstaaten der Welt", Maximillian Gritzner
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The Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire was established by Queen Victoria, by the proposal of Lord Salisbury, in 1878. It was created in commemoration of her ascension as Empress of India and was considered a junior order to The Most Exalted Order of the Star of India. The Order has never been officially abolished, but no appointments have been made since India gained independence in 1947.
The Order was conferred upon Indian citizens for meritorious service to India and the British Empire. It was originally conferred in a single grade but was later expanded into two grades in 1886 and then to three grades in 1867. Foreigners could also be admitted to the Order, but only as honourary members.
When the Order was conferred in a single class, membership was unlimited. The membership limit was first changed when the Order was expanded in 1866 and then continued to be altered a number of times thereafter. In 1939, when the last amendments were made to the Order, membership was limited to 42 Knights Grand Commander, 150 Knights Commander, and an unlimited number of Companions. Members of the first and second classes were entitled to use the title “Sir.”
The original motto of the Order was “VICTORIA IMPERATRIX” (Empress Victoria), but it was changed to “IMPERATRICIS AUSPICIIS” (Under the Auspices of the Empress) in 1886.
The Collar was worn by Grand Commanders on formal occasions along with a mantle. It is composed of 4 elephant links, 4 lotus flower links, 4 peacock links, 2 rose links and 2 imperial crown links. The collar does not have a unique badge appendant; the Grand Commander may be worn either on the Collar or a sash depending on the occasion.
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