19 OCTOBER 1991, Page 12

One hundred years ago

THE real question at issue in the "great jewel case" in India, is whether the Nizam of Hyderabad bought a diamond from Mr. Jacobs, of Simla, on approval, and sent it back because he disapproved it, or whether he bought it outright, and cancelled the bargain because the Resi- dent Warned him that to give £430,000 for a diamond, with a Treasury in difficulties and famine threatening, was not good government. The Nizam him- self gave the former account to the Commission ordered by the Supreme Court of Calcutta to examine him, and it seems reasonable in itself, but the Resident testified this week that he had thought it necessary to give the advice. The interest of the case for Englishmen consists in the fact that there still exists in the world a man who will pay £20,000 a year in perpetuity to possess a shining stone without a history or the recom- mendation of being unique.

The Spectator, 17 October 1891