An exhibition of Nizam’s jewels will be inaugurated at the National Museum in Delhi on Monday, after a gap of 11 years. The collection comprises 173 precious items, including the famous Jacob diamond, which is almost double the size of the Kohinoor diamond, covering a period from the 18th century to the early 20th century.
The exhibits spread over 28 showcases, includes dudes, sarpechs, necklaces, belts and buckles, pairs of bracelets and bangles, earrings, armlets, toe rings, finger rings, pocket watches, buttons and cufflinks. While diamonds from the mines of Golconda and Colombian emeralds predominate, Burmese rubies and spinets and pearls from Basra and the Gulf of Mannar, off the east coast of India, also form part of the exhibition. Another masterpiece in the exhibition is a collection of 22 unset emerald pieces.
The earliest items in the collection probably entered the Hyderabad treasury at the time of the annexation of the Deccan by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. The elegant double-strand chain necklaces set with diamonds of both sides date to the late 17th or early 18th century and are called the Adil Shahi jewel types.
A pair of superbly crafted diamond set armbands in a flower blossom design manifests the refinement of the Mughal atelier and two spectacular emerald set armbands are rumoured to have belonged to Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore.
The Nizam’s jewellery is one of the largest and richest collections of jewels that were purchased in 1995 by the Government of India at a cost of Rs 218 crore. The collection had remained in the custody of the HEH Nizam Jewellery Trust and the HEH Nizam Supplement Jewellery Trust, formed by the last Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, in 1951-52 to safeguard the ancestral wealth of the family.
The exhibition will remain open for the public from February 19 to May 5, 10am to 6pm (except Mondays and national holidays). There is an entry ticket of Rs 50 per person.
The first exhibition was held in 2001, from August 29 to September 15. The second exhibition was held in 2007, from September 30 to December 30.