Emma Chamberlain, a popular US YouTuber, is facing backlash from the South Asian community after wearing a contentious diamond necklace to New York’s Met Gala. Controversy arose as soon as Chamberlain stepped onto the red carpet wearing the jewellery at the annual fundraising event for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute on May 2.
The necklace had originally belonged to Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, in India’s northwest, who was one of the wealthiest men in the world between 1900 and 1938. Singh was one of the world’s wealthiest men (and an avid cricketer), but his choker mysteriously disappeared from the Patiala royal treasury around 1948, nearly ten years after his death.
A golf ball-sized yellow 23.6 carat De Beers diamond, once the seventh-largest in the world, sits in the centre of the choker. The necklace has a total carat weight of over 1,000 with an additional 2,930 diamonds.
The necklace reportedly resurfaced in a London store in 1998, where it was purchased by French luxury brand Cartier (to whom Chamberlain is an ambassador) which specialises in high-end jewellery. When Chamberlain showed up at the Met Gala sporting the historic piece, the internet instantly went ablaze with comments and criticism surrounding her eye-popping accessory.
“Okay so nobody is gonna talk about Emma Chamberlain wearing literally a necklace worn by a south Asian king at the Met Gala?” one Twitter user wrote. “When it comes to South Asians, it’s always ignored and rejected. SPEAK ABOUT THIS.”
Others, however, are defending Chamberlain and blaming Cartier.
Do you honestly think Emma Chamberlain knew what the f**k she was wearing?” one user said. “A whole team of stylists would have been involved with choosing what she wore, and even they were probably unaware. Be mad at @Cartier for owning it, you morons!”