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Friday, Nov 22, 2019

Hyderabad Nizam jewels, including one of world’s largest diamonds, on display at National Museum from February 18

Not more than 50 people would be allowed at a time to see the jewellery, on display from February 18 at New Delhi’s National Museum, amid heightened concerns over security.

delhi Updated: Feb 07, 2019 14:14 IST
Vanita Srivastava
Vanita Srivastava
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Around 173 jewellery items, including one of the largest diamonds in the world, will go on display at the National Museum.
Around 173 jewellery items, including one of the largest diamonds in the world, will go on display at the National Museum.(HT Photo )

Tight security will be in place at National Museum in New Delhi that will exhibit the priceless jewellery collection of the Nizam of Hyderabad, which includes one of the largest diamonds of the world, from February 18.

Not more than 50 people would be allowed at a time to see the jewellery amid heightened concerns over security. The visitors will not be allowed to stay for more than half an hour.

“We will inaugurate the exhibition on February 18. The jewels are a national treasure and this will give a great opportunity to the people to have a close look at the collection,” culture minister Mahesh Sharma said. The exhibition will remain open till May 5.

The National Museum, which will be displaying the collection after 12 years, had earlier exhibited the jewellery for the first time in 2001 and again in 2007. Two exhibitions were also held at Salarjung Museum in Hyderabad during the same period.

“Security will be deployed from different agencies working on the surface and behind the curtains. There would be several layers of security, including a door frame metal detector and X ray machine. We have installed security gadgets, including CCTV cameras, to secure the exhibits and monitor the visitors without causing any inconvenience to them,” curator of the exhibition and security officer, Sanjib Kumar Singh, said.

The 173 items will be placed in more than 25 showcases. Tickets will cost Rs 50 per person.

“The jewels of the Nizams are a national treasure that should be displayed not only for Indians but for people all over the world. They would be a great attraction whether displayed in Delhi or Hyderabad, provided of course proper security is ensured. But to leave them languishing in a bank vault is the worst thing possible because we know nothing about their condition and these are fragile and priceless treasures,” said John Zubrzycki, Sydney-based author and researcher of South Asia and author of the book The Last Nizam.

Soon after India’s independence and the annexation of erstwhile princely state of Hyderabad, the seventh and last Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, created 54 trusts. The jewels, now in the Indian government’s custody, were part of the assets of these exclusive trusts.

According to the government, the present collection comprises a total of 173 items acquired from two trusts. The actual number of pieces, if pairs and groups of ornaments are split up, is 325, not including 22 unset emeralds, and the 185-carat Jacob diamond, one of the world’s largest by size.

The collection includes turban ornaments, necklaces, earrings, armbands, bracelets, bells, buttons and cufflinks , anklets, watch chains and rings—all jewels once worn by the once fabulously wealthy Nizams of Hyderabad, their wives, children and grandchildren.