Zahida Parveen, Press Counsellor at the Pakistani Consultate in the UAE (left), and jewellery designer Ayesha Sadiq, during the opening of the latter’s jewellery exhibition in Dubai. Image Credit: Atiq-Ur-Rehman/Gulf News

Dubai: A jewellery exhibition which opened on 11 July, 2012 provides an entry point into the Nizam period of Indian history.

Dubai-based designer Ayesha Sadiq was inspired by the jewellery – finely crafted gold and silver with exquisite enamelling and gemstones – that belonged to the Nizams (monarchs), the wealthy dynasty that ruled Hyderabad, the former princely state of south-central India for seven generations, until independence (1947).

The designer has more than 100 pieces of costume jewellery on display and for sale. Called the Nizam Collection, it has five lines based on the jewels worn by the famous ‘Begums’ (wives) of the Nizam dynasty. The exhibition also includes Tima Collections (embellished garments) by Shabnam Naz and encrusted clutches from Diamante by designer Anam Fardeen.

Two years ago, Sadiq visited the Salarjung Museum in Hyderabad and felt compelled to recreate the style and craftsmanship.

Speaking to Gulf News, she said, “Old styles tend to be forgotten so I have attempted to reintroduce the style. Take for instance the traditional satlada [seven strand necklace] and tirmani [necklace with built-in pendant]. I have added new colours and stones to suit modern tastes.”

She added that several aspects were considered during the six-month jewellery making process. “I looked at affordability, quality and artisanship. I had to do extensive research,” she said.

Fardeen told Gulf News that her collection of custom-made clutches and handbags is being launched at a perfect season - ahead of Ramadan. “The designs are inspired by the Nizam period and include styles like kundan [a South Asian style of gemstone jewellery] and work in brass and silver.”

Gulf News also spoke to a few visitors during the opening.

Khuloud Al Omian, a Jordanian media professional said that the collection is a bridge between cultures. “I learnt about the history and several aspects of India’s tradition,” she said.

Mariam Azmy, Egyptian Director, Al Shafar, said the Nizam style will appeal to the multicultural taste of the city. “For those who haven’t heard about the Nizam style of jewellery, the collection will give them insight to a different culture.”

Vidaasha Munaweela, a Sri Lankan student said that the designer has done “an amazing job mixing the old and the new”. Hana Jaddar, a Saudi expatriate said she has seen similar traditional jewellery in Jeddah, and would pair it with the Arabic jalabiya or an Indian outfit.

Sabile Haiti, British professional said, “I like traditional jewellery, especially the way some of the gems are used.”