The history of world’s jewels is incomplete without pearls, and one such great rulers of all time with an unforgettable glory is the Nizam of Hyderabad. One of the wealthiest rulers of their time, also fell in love with the glamor and sobriety of pearls, and preferred it as a royal jewel for most of his attires.
But before we begin with their pearl affair, it is important to understand the roots and lineage of these emperors and why they were termed ‘NIZAM‘. The word ‘NIZAM’ is derived from the urdu word Nizam-ul-Mulk which exactly means administrator of a region. Their roots go back to 1713, from Mir Qamar-ud-Din Siddiqi who was Viceroy of Deccan under the Mughal Era, following the Death of last Mughal Ruler Aurangazeb and fall of Mughals, Mir Qamar-ud-Din Siddiqi a.k.a Asaf Jah 1 became independent of this regime and begin his own journey and inherited his title as NIZAM. The hierarchy of Nizam Rulers are as follows:
The Nizam of Hyderabad was believed to have the widest collection of Natural Pearls jewellery. It is believed that the pearls that he had accumulated could fill up the “Olympic Size Pool.” (Fact Credit: thediamondtalk.in)
Meet the Wealthiest Royal of 19th Century, the last Nizam of Hyderabad, and the most prominent collector of Natural Pearls, Mir Osman Ali Khan.
He ascended the throne on 29 August 1911, at the age of 25 and ruled the Kingdom of Hyderabad between 1911 and 1948, until India annexed it. He was styled as His Exalted Highness-(H.E.H.) the Nizam of Hyderabad, and was one of the wealthiest individuals of all time. On February 22, 1937, Time Magazine featured him on its cover as the world’s richest person, with an inflation adjusted net worth of over $200 billion. (That’s more than the 2021’s richest individual Jeff Bezos who’s collective net worth is $180 billion)
The Nizam’s Love for Pearls
The Nizam was a vivid collector of various priceless jewels which included some great collection of pearl jewellery designs that trend even today in the city of Hyderabad, in-fact it was his affection for this royal gem made Hyderabad world renowned as the “City of Pearls“.
The Pearls of Nizam
Now coming to the most awaited part, the pearls of Nizam of Hyderabad. Unfortunately, most of the pearls of his collection remained hidden after the annex of Hyderabad by Government of India, after a lot of requests a decade ago the Indian Government allowed display of the Jewels of Nizam and very few designs were captured in photographs. Fortunately, we have access to all of this designs and photographs that made out so you too can feel the beauty of Pearl Jewels of Nizam.
The Iconic Nizami Satlada of Pearls
“Seven Strings of Pearls” or otherwise called as ‘Satlada‘, is one of our favourite pick among the pearls of Hyderabadi Nizam, this Satlada was made completely out of 465 pieces of Highest Grade of Natural Basra Pearls sourced from the Middle-East. The ending of the Satlada is made from ‘Almas‘ (uncut Natural Diamonds). Unlike many other historical jewels, this priceless artefact is impossible to replicate in the present times and will forever remain as Royal Jewel of Nizam.
The Lesser Known ‘Panchlada’
As you might have guessed. “Panchlada” is a arrangement of five long strings of pearls. Here is Nizam’s another masterpiece that is lesser known to the world.
Queen’s Impeccable ‘Jadaavi Laccha’
The word “Jadavi Laccha” is derived from Studded (a.k.a Jadavi) & Choker (a.k.a Laccha). This Royal variant of the Western Choker is still in trend in the Southern India and some other parts of India such as Lucknow.
Three Choker’s, In the Image below, are as follows:
- Neelam Jadavi Laccha (Choker made of Precious Blue Sapphires & Pearls)
- Moti Jadavi Laccha (Choker made of Natural Basra Pearls & Diamonds)
- Jamrooth Jadavi Laccha (Choker made of Precious Columbian Emeralds)
The Royal “Jugni”
The term ‘Jugni’ is derived from the Urdu word ‘Jugnu’ which means ‘Firefly’, it means a pendant that is shaped as a firefly. This Jugni is made in 7 strand of Natural Basra Pearls, and Emeralds, and Almas (Uncut Diamonds), the backside as shown in the picture has enamel craftswork traditionally known as Meenakari Work. The Jugnis are preferred to be worn along with the Jadaavi Laccha’s
The Accompanying “Karan Phool”
The obsession of Earrings goes long way back. The term “Karan Phool” means “Flower Earrings”, ‘Karan’ means ‘Ear’ & ‘Phool’ means ‘Flower’. These are the accompanying earrings with Jadaavi Laccha’s.
The Nizami ‘Bajuband’
‘Bajuband’ (meaning: Armband) were a masculine jewel that were worn as a bracelet of the upper arm. Below, you are notice two of such jewellery masterpieces,
- The first one is Beautiful Enamelling Work bordered with Natural Pearls.
- The second one is studded with uncut diamonds bordered with Natural Pearls
The Bajubands were also liked by Begums (Queen of Nizam) and below you can se the feminine version of this Exotic jewel:
- Bajuband crafted in Columbian Emeralds & Uncut Golconda Diamonds
- Bajuband studded with Golconda Diamonds & Bordered with Natural Pearls
- Exquisite Antique Royal Jewel (Bajuband) made from Pure uncut Diamonds.
The Royal ‘Pajeb’
‘Pajeb’ a.k.a ‘Pazeb’ are Anklets worn by Begums (Queen). We can’t dare to undermine even the Anklets of the Nizam as these are also astonishingly well-crafted and among priceless jewels of the Nizam. The below are some of the Anklets that made it to public appearance, studded in real solid gold, silver, diamonds, natural pearls, rubies and emeralds.
‘Turra’ is an hanging jewel ornament worn with the Turban. Needless to say that the Nizam used only Natural Pearls, Columbian Emeralds & Priceless Diamonds from Golconda Mines to make this stylish ornaments which were worn by the young Prince of the Royal House.
Princess’s Pearl ‘Taveez’
The princesses of the Royal house of Nizam were no less, they wore this special Jewel called “Choti Taveez” wherein ‘Choti‘ means ‘Braid’ & ‘Taveez‘ means ‘Amulet’, together put “Amulet of Braid“. This was a special jewel that was believed to keep the negativity away from the children/princesses at their young age.
The Descendants of Last Nizam
Nizam’s Royal “Pocket Watch”
Every accompanying product which is carried by the Nizam has to be royal, let alone be the Pocket Watch which was made with natural pearls, diamonds on solid gold.
The Nizam of Hyderabad was the single-largest collector of Natural Pearls, we hope you liked this article that sheds spotlight on some of the jewels that made it to the public and captured on camera. Kudos to all those photographers who got amazing shots of these priceless jewels at the right time.
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