The Nizam Jewelry Exhibition
The contributions of my Late grandfather was supreme in every field be it the palaces that he built, his dedication towards being a philanthropist, his massive donation of 5000 Kg gold towards the National Defense Fund, or his unique and extremely valuable jewellery collection which is one of the richest in the world, thus he was rightly called “Aala Hazrat” which translates to Supreme Presence in Arabic.
We welcome the move that after 12 years, the National Museum in Delhi is displaying the precious jewellery that adorned the world’s richest man with grandeur whose actual value is difficult to assess.
Each item is exquisite and has a history and beauty of its own. Some of the most beautiful were, the iridescent Jacob Diamond, the Sarpach Backhkani Almas Kanval wa Muni Zamarrud which had an intricate bird on it, the Sarpach Kkrud Zamarrud wa Kanval Almas and Kanthi Almas Kanval necklace, are an extremely artistic blend of gold, diamonds and precious stones. The Kanthi Dholna Almas wa Mothi was also a great attraction as it has around 54 diamonds, each having a hole on either side of it to attach it to exquisite pearls.
At over 187 carats, the rectangular cushion-cut Jacob Diamond is said to be one of the top 7 largest polished diamonds in the world. Other names for the stone include the Victoria Diamond, the Imperial Diamond and the Great White Diamond. Its current name came from its dealer, Alexander Malcolm Jacob who sold it in 1891 to the sixth Nizam Mir Mahboob Ali Khan of the magnificent Asif Jahi Dynasty that ruled for over 224 years.
The history of the gem is an interesting and short one, it was only sold twice in its existence but the tale surrounding it is one of the most well-known tales of the Deccani region.
Its first owner Alexander Malcolm Jacob was a well-known, but famously notorious jewellery merchant from Shimla. He was very well aware that the sixth Nizam Mir Mahboob Ali Khan had a great and exquisite taste when it came to jewels and antiquities. His extremely expensive and valuable collection also included the exquisite but woeful necklace of Mary Antoinette of France which was recently sold at Sotheby’s for $36 million. The diamond was originally from the Kimberly mines of South Africa that travelled through London, Amsterdam and finally reached Hyderabad where the Nizam had already paid in advance for it.
On July 21, 1891, when Jacob came with the original diamond, the Nizam to his disappointment found that the diamond was much smaller than Jacob had falsely described it to be. Thus the Nizam refused to buy the diamond on account of their being misleading information, but Jacob insisted the deal be completed.
He even filed a case on His Excellency in court and this enraged the usually mild Nizam who felt so insisted that he stowed away the rare diamond in a shoe and never used it again.
The diamond was finally found again after many years by his son, Mir Osman Ali Khan Nizam VII who then used it as a paperweight, the intention with which it was originally bought.
The curator of the exhibition Sanjib Kumar Singh, explained about each item in detail. My family and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. As we all know my grandfather H.E.H late Sir Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan Bahadur Nizam VII was a visionary, the interest, time, selecting of items to make this priceless collection makes me proud to be a part of this legacy.
As quoted by Dr. B.R.Mani the Director General of National Museum ‘The Nizams collection of Jewels is one of the richest collection in the world, keeping its importance as Alamkar in mind, the Nizams Jewellery Exhibition is being organized in the National Museum”
We believe that these priceless jewels with a grandeur of its own should be displayed round the year so that more and more people visit and witness its beauty. These are some of the finest jewels, passed down the Asif Jahi Dynasty that ruled for over 224 years that stand as a silent witness to the history of our Deccan region.
We request that the State Government should also pursue the Central Government to bring back the Jewellery to our State as our Chief Minister K.Chandrashekhar Rao has shown his immense interest in bringing them back in 2017 during the Assembly Sessions. A new structure with top security systems should be constructed for the exhibition which should be open to the public round the year.
We thank Dr. B.R.Mani and his staff for warmly welcoming us and for organizing such a wonderful exhibition for the passion of art lovers and history aficionados.
Nawab Najaf Ali Khan, Grandson of late Nizam VII of Hyderabad