Ornate embellishments and intricate detailing of jewellery have been integral to Indian culture and heritage, since time immemorial. So, when one mentions precious stones, gems and jewels, it will indeed be a travesty to not talk about the legacy of the Nizams of Hyderabad. The royalty here had the tradition of owning and appreciating fine ornamental assets.
The jewellery sets, designed in the Nizam era, reflect intricately crafted designs positioned uniquely in a carefully chosen motif. Most of the authentic pieces reflect the influence of Mughal, Deccan, and European techniques. Various aficionados have also gone to the extent of stating that the Hyderabad Nizam Jewellery collection was among the World’s finest.
The vast range comprises of dangling earrings, pins, rings, bajubandhs, necklaces and turban ornaments. Trimmings fashioned in the “jadau” style formed an integral part of the traditional jewellery of Nizams. These curios consisted of uncut diamonds, enameled ‘meenakari’ work, stones embedded in gold, ‘jaali’ or lattice work. Prime focus of craftsmen was on coloured stones and pearls. Sourcing uniquely styled and shaped gemstones from different parts of India was also an important factor.
Bajubandhs or Armbands
Another notable factor is the popularity of Turban ornaments known as Sarpesh, Sarpatti Kalgi, Turra or Jigha. These pieces comprised of precious gemstone drops and even pure Colombian emeralds and pearls. Such ornaments were the symbol or power, monarchy, and wealth. The sheer quality, size, striking colour, and purity of these jewels render them an extraordinary appearance.
Sarpesh or Turban Ornament
Another admirable piece in the Nizam collection is the Basra pearl necklace known as Satlada. It comprises of seven strings composed of at least 465 pearls. What makes this particular piece unique is the perfect spherical shape of the pearls and their stunning sheen.
The prominent heritage set is the Karay Dand Jarvari which is essentially a pair of bangles made in gold and diamonds and set in enamel. This distinctive Nizam Jewellery is said to be fashioned by Deccan Karigars who made best use of Kundans. The intricately designed green leaves and red flowers stand in stark contrast to their white enamel backgrounds.
Karay Dand Jarvari
The Paizaab Yakhoot was among the heaviest of accessories and is made with gold and gold-hinged panels. They are set in diamonds, pearls, emeralds, and rubies. The karigari dates back to the 19th century and the precious stones are crafted in the well-known rose-cut fashion. Such splendid craftsmanship lends the design a delicate yet elaborate look. These designs are a perfect blend of traditional and contemporary jewellery.
In those days it was crucial for artisans to ensure that the luster of diamonds remained intact and undisturbed. Presenting the Nizam diamond jewellery with a flawless, patented cut and seamless halo was also essential. Usage of floral motifs, sophisticated designs indicated the sophistication and finesse of the Nizam Jewellery artisans.