New Delhi: The Minister of State for Culture, Dr. Mahesh Sharma inaugurated an exhibition of rare collection comprising 173 precious jewels and jewellery items of exquisite workmanship titled “Jewels of India: The Nizam’s Jewellery Collection”. Arun Goel, Secretary, Ministry of Culture; Dr. B. R. Mani, DG, National Museum and other senior officers of Ministry of Culture and National Museum were present on the occasion. The exhibition has been organized by the National Mueseum, Ministry of Culture, Government of India. The exhibition has been curated by Sanjib Kumar Singh and his team from the National Museum under the guidance of Dr. B. R. Mani, DG, National Museum.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Mahesh Sharma said that this is the third time that the Nizam’s jewellery has been put on public display before the people and especially the youth which will help them to familiarize with their rich cultural heritage. The Ministry of Culture is continuously engaged in efforts to bring out the history of the country in parts and the rare exhibition is one such effort in this direction, the Culture Minister explained.
Dr. B. R. Mani, DG, National Museum said that it is the privilege of the National Museum to bring out the exhibition of such rare and precious gems and jewels belonging to the period ranging from 18th century to the early 20th century.A portfolio on the Nizam’s jewellery collection and a booklet was also released on the occasion.
The Nizams’ Jewellery is one of largest and rich collection of Jewels that was purchased in 1995 by the Government of India at a cost of Rs. 218 Crore. The collection had remained in the custody of “H.E.H. Nizam Jewellery Trust” and “H.E.H. Nizam Supplemental Jewellery Trust” formed by the last Nizam Mir Osman All Khan in 1951-1952 to safe-guard the ancestral wealth of the family. The trustees kept this treasure of great historical value in the vaults of Hong Kong Bank. When the Government of India acquired this collection in 1995, after a prolonged legal battle, it was shifted to the vaults of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Mumbai, where it remained till 29th June 2001. It was brought and kept in the vaults of the RBI, New Delhi, for safety and has now been shifted to the National Museum for a befitting display, the preparations of which are complete from all points of view including round-the-dock security.
The collection in-dudes, sarpeches, necklaces, belts and buckles, pairs of bracelets and bangles, earrings, armlets, toe rings, finger rings, pocket watch and watch chains, but-tons and cufflinks, etc. While the diamonds from the celebrated mines of Golconda and Colombian emeralds predominate, the Burmese rubies and spinets and pearls from Basra and the Gulf of Mannar, off the east coast of India, will also form part of the Exhibition. All the jewels are flamboyant, yet amidst the dazzle of precious gems, individual pieces stand out by virtue of their antiquity and the merit of their craftsmanship. Most outstanding among this collection is the Imperial diamond now known as Jacob diamond, weighing 184.75 carats, which is a fabulous weight of any single gemstone. It is an invaluable sparkling diamond by all means, be its brilliant cutting, clarity and colour. It is almost double the size of Kohinoor Diamond (in the present shape). Another item is a collection of 22 unset emerald pieces. Also an exceptionally large variety of cut emeralds, emerald drops, emerald beads, Taveez and many other shapes of Jewellery from Colombia and Russia and two ornamented belts, one studded with a cut and the other with a carved emerald have their own charm. The quantity of emeralds may run into a couple of thousand carats.
The beautiful seven stringed pearl necklace (satlarah) is a unique creation and its weight and size are simply mind-boggling. There are approximately 40,000-50,000 chows (one chow = Carat x Carat x 0.65 /number of pearls) pearls in this collection. Besides, many necklaces with button pearls and diamond beads are exceptional for their extraordinary shape and cutting. Most of the Jadau (stone-studded) items showing large, rose cut and flat cut diamonds total a few thousand carats in weight. Of the many rings with large diamonds of different colours, one set with a Alexandrite stone, perhaps from the famous Russian mines, is of unusually large size bearing testimony to the nature’s excellent gift – it changes its colours sparklingly when viewed under artificial light. The collection of pocket watch and watch chains studded with diamonds, emeralds and precious stones are noteworthy for their wide variety and intricate workmanship. It may be pointed out that some excellent enameled works from Jaipur, Delhi, Awadh and Deccan form part of this collection, which is comparable to the designs and details in the miniature paintings of these areas.