Sunday, 26 January 2014

Diamond Princess

Her Imperial and Exalted Highness The Princess Hatice Hayriye Ayse Dürrüsehvar Sultan, Imperial Princess of the Ottoman Empire, Princess of Berar, born a century ago today.

  • She was the last heir apparent to the Imperial Ottoman throne and the last Caliph of the Muslim world.
  • In 1931 she married the son of the last Nizam of Hyderabad State, Osman Ali Khan, Asif Jah VII - the richest ruler in the world in his time.
  • A moderniser by nature, she believed that women should earn their own living, and helped to remove the practice of purdah; and she founded hospitals for women and children in Hyderabad.
  • The Princess died in London, where she had maintained a home throughout her life, and refused to be buried in Turkey in protest at the republican government's "betrayal" of her father.
And here are some of the jewels to which she had access, courtesy of that fortuitous marriage...

In 1937, the Nizam of Hyderabad's assets were twice the Indian government's budget - and even today they would be 1.5 times the modern government's spending power. His jewellery collection included 25,000 diamonds, pearls the size of quail eggs and the famed 184.5 carat Jacob’s Diamond, also known as the Victoria. A set of 22 Colombian emeralds weighing 413 carats was so flawless that no jeweller had the courage to set them. One necklace comprised 226 diamonds weighing nearly 150 carats. The legendary Nizam’s Diamond (whereabouts apparently unknown) weighed 440 carats and was said to be the second largest in the world.

Allegedly Osman Ali Khan used to handle his baubles as if they were marbles, and kept the Jacob's Diamond as a paperweight. He could afford to.

Jewels of the Nizams


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