Nizam's jewels - timeless treasures of India
Just the fact that there is jewellery worth over Rs.15,000 crore under one roof is staggering. Even if one doesn't consider the cost, the sheer magnificence of each of the exhibited pieces is enough to leave one speechless with awe and wonder. In Hyderabad, which is keeping up to its reputation of being a happening city, the two- month long exhibition of diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires and pearls, resplendent in all their glitter and colour, re-kindle memories of Hyderabad heritage. Belonging to the Asaf Jah dynasty, which was established in 1724, the jewellery has a historic past, and a colourful one at that.
It was in 1972 that the jewels of the Nizams of Hyderabad, rumoured to be one of the most exceptional collection, were offered for sale to the Government of India for Rupees 218 crore. The deal was struck. However, it has taken almost 23 years to finally acquire the jewels, after prolonged court cases and colossal expenses.
First, the jewels were shifted to the vaults of the Reserve Bank of India from the Hongkong Bank where they were being held earlier. Later, the jewellery was exhibited for the first time at the National Museum in New Delhi for about two months during September - December, 2001.
The 173 piece collection was built up over seven generations of the Asaf Jabs or the Nizams as rulers were called. Although the Nizams ruled over the Deccan, they had adopted the lifestyle, court traditions and administrative practices of the Mughals.
The jewellery, therefore, is a synthesis of Mughal, deccani, as well as European influences. It reflects the ethos of a dynasty that originated in the Mughal court, ruled the Deccan and was a staunch ally of the British empire. It was during the seventh and the last Nizam's -Mir Osman Ali Khan- time that care was taken to preserve the timeless treasure. It was difficult for the Nizams, who had a large family and a retinue of servants, to take of their own.
Read more : http://mahabubnagar.tripod.com/nizam_jewelry1.htm