Likely bestowed by and personally presented by King Rama IV, this exquisite Order of the White Elephant in Gold with Diamonds showcases early Thai phaleristics as well as emerging Western influences and trends. Sold in May of 2018, this Grand Cordon I Class example set a new industry benchmark for Thai orders and decorations, with a price realized with $50,600 USD.
(เครื่องราชอิสริยาภรณ์อันเป็นที่เชิดชูยิ่งช้างเผือก). (Khrueang Ratcha Itsariyaphon An Pen Thi Choet Chu Ying Chang Phueak). Instituted 1861 by King Rama IV. An outstanding 1st Class set and a true example of quality and period Siamese craftsmanship. An ornate sash badge in Gold, consisting of a Thia elephant with red and white enamel detailing, with red and green enamel surround, with suspension presenting Thai script surrounded by 10 finely set rubies, together with a large Gold hook, measuring 30 mm (w) x 65.5 mm (h - inclusive of hinged suspension), hook measuring 31 mm (h), together weighing 14.9 grams, on later mid 20th century sash, with minimal enamel wear, extremely fine. Accompanied by the spectacular star of the order, of circular design, consisting of 32 alternating red enameled and ruby lotus blossoms, obverse centre surrounded by 39 old rose cut diamonds, with a dark blue enameled background superimposed by strong Thai iconography in Gold, a Thai elephant adorned by ornate crown, with details in red, green, and white enameling, reverse with strong pin assembly, measuring 61.4 mm (w) x 61.3 mm (h), 82.6 grams, better than extremely fine. Presented in exquisite case of issue, finely crafted in Amboyna wood, lid with ebony inlay and silver elephant, slack push button catch and strong metal hinge, interior in yellow velvet and silk, case measures 15.7 cm (w) x 27.2 cm (l) x 9.0 cm (h), extremely fine.
The Order was established as long ago as 29 December 1869 by King Mongkut Rama IV as a reward for service to the state and may be awarded to both Thai (Siamese) citizens and foreigners. The form of the insignia was changed to its current design in 1948 and this example is of the first type, prior to that date. The elephant form of the breast badge is highly unusual and possibly indicates that this is a very early example.