HYDERABAD: A Mughal era gem set and enamelled gold decanter that once belonged to the Nizams of Hyderabad is set to go under the hammer in United Kingdom on October 27. Sotheby’s, which is conducting the auction, estimates that the elegant piece will sell for approximately Rs 4.74 crore to Rs 7.58 crore. The decanter which may have been used by the Mughals and — maybe even by the Nizams — to pour wine, is set with over 600 hexagonal emeralds.
The white enamel neck of the flask is decorated with green leafy stems and with flowers that are slightly protruding. The detachable lid has a diamond encrusted on it. The international auction house says the flask is in good condition, although the gems have not been tested as it is set in the flask. “Some of the gems (are) with minor abrasions (which is) consistent with age; very few gems appear to have been replaced with a paste...(sic),” the Sotheby’s condition report says.
Gifted by the Nizams in 1930s to current owners
The auction catalogue for the flask says that it was a part of the collection of the Nizam of Hyderabad and it was gifted by the Nizams in 1930s to its current owners. Although it is unclear how the flask left the Mughal treasury and reached the courts of the Nizams in Hyderabad, Sotheby’s provides a few theories. It may have been a gift from a Mughal emperor, the auction house says.
“Another likely option however is that it was among the pieces taken by (Iranian ruler) Nader Shah from the Mughal treasury in 1739 which never made it all the way back to the Iran,” the catalogue states. Heritage experts opine that the first theory is much more likely as the Nizams, since 1724, have received priceless gifts of jewels from Mughal emperors and other neighbouring rulers as gifts for the Nizam’s loyalty.