Saturday, 3 May 2008

Nizam Diamond: The Search Continues


May 3, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, May 2: After the "frozen funds" the descendants of the last Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan, have now turned their attention to the "missing diamond" that commands a price of Rs 1000 crore in the international market.
Simply called the "Nizam's diamond", it was last seen some 60 years ago in the State treasury of then Hyderabad State. It went missing in mysterious circumstances just before the Indian Army annexed the Nizam's state in what is known as Police Action during 1948.
The Nizam's diamond weighs 277 carats and the World Diamond Council lists it as one of the "mysterious precious stones" of historical importance. The diamond originally weighed 340 carats and after cut, it lost 63 carats. It is the second largest diamond ever mined from the Krishna valley after the Great Moghul diamond. The Nizam's diamond is ranked as the fifth biggest diamond in the world.
For decades the descendants of the Nizam dug up the old havelis in a bid to trace the Nizam's diamond. They gave up the search 20 years ago. But the renewed talk of Rs 250 crore Nizam's frozen funds now lying in London's National Westminster's Bank has rekindled in the royal descendants the hope of finding the lost diamond. They have resumed the search sometime last month. The diamond, if found, will solve the financial problems of the Nizam's descendants particularly his eldest grandson and legal heir Mukarram Jah and his younger brother Mufakham Jah.
Both the grandsons will get the right over the Nizam's diamond, as it was a personal property of Mir Osman Ali Khan, though kept in the State treasury. The other members of the Nizam's family may also demand a share, but it will lead to prolonged legal wrangling. The Nizam's diamond is believed to have been lost along with other jewellery items, not part of the famed jewellery collection of the Nizam, now the property of the Central government.
City historian Muhammad Safiullah believes that the Nizam's diamond may be lying somewhere with the personal belongings of Mir Osman Ali Khan. "It is easy to trace famous diamonds. There's no record of it being sold anywhere in the world including the famous auction houses. No person, who knows the value of diamond, will not cut it to pieces. This means that the diamond is still in the possession of someone in the family or lying with the personal belongings of the last Nizam," he points out.
Historical records of Golconda fort show that the Nizam's diamond was mined at Kolluru village on the banks of the river Krishna in Guntur district in 1830. Several European historians including Tavernier have referred to this diamond as a prized possession of the Nizam. The diamond was convex-shaped with irregular facets and almost thrice the size of the famed Koh-e-noor diamond, also mined from the Krishna valley.

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