'Prophet carpet' set for auction

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The rug, known as the Pearl Carpet of Baroda, was created using an estimated two million natural seed pearls.

It is decorated with hundreds of precious stones, including diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds.

Bidding is expected to start at about $5m but experts say its eventual selling price could be far higher.

Tradition has it that the Pearl Carpet of Baroda was commissioned by India's wealthy Maharaja of Baroda as a gift to sit at the tomb of the Prophet Muhammad.

The maharaja's death meant it was never delivered and remained in India, being exhibited as a highlight of the Delhi Exhibition more than 100 years ago.

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