These are no monuments with insights into the architectural heritage,
but the Nizam’s jewellery collection is just an enlightening. A blend
of Deccani, Rajasthani and Lucknowi karigari, these pieces are embedded
with some of the finest precious stones like Colombia emeralds, Basra
pearls, spinels, rubies and old cut diamonds.
A legal battle for
ownership over the collection, which has 173 ornaments, began in 1972
between the government and the Nizam’s heir Mukkaram Jah. The government
of India finally bought the jewels for `218 crores.
collection has been put on display twice at Salar Jung museum (in 2005
and 2007), but are otherwise stored away. Satish Govindas Shah whose
family were the Nizam’s official jewellers, explains about a few pieces
from the collection.
This is a male ornament
made in silver and gold set with diamonds, a cabochon ruby, emerald
beads, drops and pearls. It is a impressive pachchikam champakali
necklace crafted in the shape of michelia champaca bud. For more
detail, the bud is suspended alternatively with emerald beads and pearl.
The design technique are pachchikam and kundan. The beautiful
cabochon ruby traces its origins to Burma. These neck pieces are very
common in India royal families symbolising their wealth and status.
is a male shoulder belt with gold set and diamonds belonging to the
19th century. It is a male accessory combined with a dagger sheath with
kundan work plaques and foiled table cut diamonds forming floral
designs. The buckle or baglus is designed in three sections with a
six-petaled flower in the centre and two small rectangular pieces. The
plaques are so well connected with each other that the floral design
seems unbroken. The same floral design is carried onto to the dagger
sheath as well.
It is made up of 23 large and 21 small plaques and the sheath and buckle have a fewer than 1,383 diamonds.
magnificent anklets were one of the queen’s heavier accessories. Made
in gold and set with rubies, diamonds and emeralds, they are design in
the Deccan style of karigari, dating back to the 19th century. These
anklets are further made of gold rectangular plaques assembled with
diamonds, emeralds and rubies. The design is a flower head with
alternating diamond, emerald and ruby in the centre and with the rose
cut diamonds all around and table cut emerald at the clasp. Two rows of
rose cut diamonds around the lower edge make for an even more delicate
design. The craftmanship, which is fine and intricate, depict a
combination of western and Nizam styles.
Karay Dand Jarvari
pair of gold bangles set with diamonds, enamel coats the inside. A
priced possession of the Nizam jewellery collection, these were made by
the Deccan karigars. The bangles are crafted in kundan and set with
foiled old-cut diamonds in the front while the inside enamel has an
intricate design of red flowers and green leaves on a white background.
emeralds encrusted with diamonds around it form the cluster seven shirt
buttons that the Nizam used to wear. Each claw is set in a gold piece
with round rose cut emeralds surrounded with small old cut diamonds. The
emeralds are Colombian, known for their deep green colour and clarity. A
fun fact – the Nizam’s were known for their fondness of the green
precious stone. So, it seems quite natural that the set of seven buttons
were the second most dearest ornaments in the Nizam’s collection after