Friday, 9 September 2011

Diamond market in old Golconda: The Nizam had 350 kgs of diamonds

By Syed Akbar
The walled city of Golconda had a flourishing diamond market of world
repute, though diamonds were never mined in or around Golconda or
modern Hyderabad. All the diamonds, now popular as "Golconda
diamonds",  were mined in Krishna, Guntur, Kurnool and Anantapur
districts. The Krishna valley was the heart of the "Golconda diamonds".

The so-called Golconda mines had producted 12 million carats of
diamonds of varying sizes till 1890s when mining was stopped after it
was found to be uneconomical. The Nizam VII, Mir Osman Ali Khan, had a
personal collection of 350 kgs of diamonds, mostly mined in the
present day  Andhra Pradesh.

One of the diamonds associated with Golconda, the Nizam Diamond,
weighs 277 carats, the world's third largest diamond. But mystery
continues to surround its whereabouts. The diamond was last seen in
the Nizam's treasury in late 1940s. Since then no one knows in whose
custody it is. The Nizam diamond has never been put up for auction in
any of the international auction centres.

"Hyderabad diamond markegt was famous for its plain cushon and
imperial cushon cut diamonds. They are round and valued for their
rarity and opulence. The diamonds now being auctioned in Hong Kong
perhaps belongs to the rulers of the Hyderabad Dominion and a 23 carat
diamond for an ear pendant is sufficiently large," said city historian
Dr Muhammad Safiullah.

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