Who was Hyderabad’s last Nizam, then richest man on planet, who used Rs 1,000-crore diamond as paperweight

Who was Hyderabad’s last Nizam, then richest man on planet, who used Rs 1,000-crore diamond as paperweight

The Nizam’s family ruled Hyderabad since the 18th century.

Muharram Jah Bahadur, the titular eighth Nizam of Hyderabad, passed away on Thursday night in the Turkish capital Istanbul. Jah’s grandfather Mir Osman Ali Khan was the seventh and the last Nizam of Hyderabad. He is believed to be the then-richest man on the planet. Mir Osman Ali Khan’s net worth, adjusted for inflation, is pegged at USD 236 billion. He died in 1967 at the age of 80.

The tales of the last Nizam of Hyderabad's wealth are well-documented and legendary. Osman Ali owned a fleet of Rolls Royce, including a Silver Ghost Throne car, and used a Jacob diamond, now believed to be worth Rs 1,000 crore, as a paperweight.

Nizam of Hyderabad's Jacob diamond

The diamond was believed to be ill-fated by Osman Ali Khan’s father, Mahboob Ali Khan, the sixth Nizam of Hyderabad, who kept the ‘manhoos hira (ill-fated diamond)’ in the toe of his slippers. The seventh Nizam retrieved the rock from the slippers at

It was bought by the Indian government for a sum of GBP 13 million from the Nizam’s Trust in 1995. It now sits in a secure vault of the Reserve Bank of India in Mumbai.

Like its former owner, Jacobi diamond’s legend is fascinating. The world’s fifth largest polished solitaire, which weighs 184.75 carats or 40 grams, was named after Alexander Malcon Jacob, the original owner who bought it from a Belgian syndicate in 1891.

The Nizam bought the diamond at a heavily discounted price of Rs 25 lakh from Jacob, who had paid the full price to the Belgian company and suffered a massive loss on the deal due to a lack of other buyers. The ensuing legal battle ruined Jacob, who was once an inspiration for hundreds of news articles and three books, died penniless in Mumbai in 1921.

The multi-million-pound rock is bigger than the Koh-i-noor, the stolen diamond, which adorns the crown of the Late Queen Elizabeth II.

Who was Hyderabad’s last Nizam, then richest man on planet, who used Rs 1,000-crore diamond as paperweight
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The wire transfer & legal case

The Nizam’s family ruled Hyderabad since the 18th century. Osman Ali Khan was the only Indian rules to enjoy the title of Exalted Highness in British India owing to his contributions of GBP 25 million to British government during World War II. Before India’s independence, the Nizam transferred a sum of GBP 1 million to this bank account at Westminster Bank in London. The money was finally handed back to Nizam’s family in 2019 after a British judge allowed the descendants to collect it from London’s National Westminster Bank.

He was one of the five princes who refused to join an independent India. The other four were Nawab of Junagadh, Muhammad Mahabat Khanji III and the Maharaja of Jodhpur, Hanvant Singh.

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