Iran is home to some of the most fascinating and beautiful jewels in the world—the Imperial Crown Jewels. It is considered to be one of the largest and most extravagant collections among monarchies. Accumulated over centuries and during the turbulent eras of Iran’s dynasties, the collection is so valuable that it currently acts as a reserve to the national currency. It includes crowns, tiaras, and ceremonial regalia worn by the Shah rulers as well as jewel-encrusted thrones, swords, loose precious gemstones, and notably, the celebrated Darya-e Noor diamond—one of the largest cut pink diamonds in the world.
The vast collection dates back to 1500 A.D. to the Safavid dynasty, and was developed right up until the last dynasty, which came to an end in 1979. Today, it is housed and displayed at the Treasury of National Jewels in Tehran. Read on for a closer look at some of the most extravagant pieces.
One of the most famous and intricate pieces in the collection is the jewel-encrusted globe, which dates back to the Qajar dynasty (1794 – 1925). The globe was commissioned by the order of Naser-al-Din Shah, who ruled from 1848 until 1896, to keep track of the loose gemstones in the royal treasury. With a diameter of 45cm, this magnificent globe is made out of pure gold with more than 51,000 gems. Emeralds represent the sea and rubies represent landmass with the exception of Iran, Britain, France, and some parts of Asia, which are highlighted with diamonds.
The Imperial Sword
The Imperial Sword, also known as the Shahi Sword, is one of the most treasured and historic pieces in the collection. The sword was commissioned by Amin al-Sultan, the minister of interior and treasury who served the royal court during the Qajar dynasty. Measuring 103cm with 3,000 emeralds, rubies, and diamonds on the handle alone, the sword was engraved and created by swordsmith Mirza Ali Nagir in 1306 A.H. (Hijri calendar). The jeweled weapon was presented as a gift to Naser-al-Din Shah from Amin al-Sultan six years after it was completed. Since then, the sword has been used during royal ceremonies. In keeping with royal tradition, the last Shah to rule Iran, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, was presented with the sword at his coronation in 1967.
When it comes to diamonds, the Darya-e Noor, which translates to ‘”sea of light,” is one of the most celebrated pieces among the Persian Crown Jewels. Mounted on an elaborate frame, the 186-carat pale pink, table-cut diamond is also considered to be one of the largest cut pink diamonds in the world. The history of the diamond dates back to when Nader Shah ruled during the Afsharid dynasty (1736–1757) and brought the diamond to Iran after invading the Mughal Empire (India). Following his death in 1747, the diamond was passed down the royal bloodline and inherited by his grandson Shahrokh, the last Shah of the Afsharid dynasty.
After the dynasty was taken over by Agha Mohammad, the founder of the Qajar dynasty, the diamond was passed down to the successor—his grandson Fath-Ali Shah—who inscribed his name on one side of the gem. After the fall of the Qajar dynasty, the diamond was left in the custody of the Pahlavi dynasty rulers (1925-1979), the last dynasty of Iran.
The Coronation Crown
One of the most historic moments in Iran’s history was the coronation of Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1926, the founder of the Pahlavi dynasty. Inspired by the Sasanian dynasty, the crown, made by Persian jewelers, was created with 3,380 diamonds—the largest being a 60-carat yellow diamond nestled in a sun motif—369 pearls and five emeralds, one of which totals 100 carats. The crown was later used during the coronation ceremony of his son and successor, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi.
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