One of the worlds largest and most valuable jewel collections, the Imperial Crown Jewels of Persia, or Crown Jewels of Iran, consists of a mind-boggling number of treasures. On display at the Museum of The Treasury of National Iranian Jewels in Tehran, Iran, the collection ranges from breathtaking tiaras to jewel-studded swords to princely thrones, and much more.
The Crown Jewels span 2500 years of the Iranian monarchy, however the majority of the collection represents the Safavid shahs who ruled Iran from 1502-1736 A.D. The founder of Safavid Dynasty of Iran, Shah Ismail I, successfully established Iran as an independent country since the 7th century A.D. This Safavid dynasty brought about the compilation of priceless gems and jewelry through a variety of means. Some were acquired as war booty, others were gifts from Europe and India, and the country's mother-of-pearl collection was caught from the Persian Gulf.
Already considered priceless during the Safavid reign, the collection was nearly lost forever in 1722 following a raid by an Afghan ruler who besieged the country's capital and took control. The country's jewels were plundered and sold to Mogul rulers in India. Seven years later, Iranian forces drove the Afghans out of Persia and regained some of the stolen jewelry. Through the years, the Crown Jewels again came under attack, but Iran's rulers continued to make attempts to re-assemble, expand and protect their treasure.
Eventually, the royal treasury was transferred to the National Bank of Iran, after a law was passed enacting the collection act as a reserve to back up the local currency. The last Shah of Iran decreed the jewels were the property of the Iranian State and transported them to the Central Bank of Iran in 1960.
While a smattering of diamonds, rubies and other gemstones glitter in this remarkable Persian fortune, two of the world's largest and most valuable diamonds are also a part of the collection. The worth of the Koh-i-Noor diamond and the Darya-ye-Noor diamond are so great they surpass monetary value.
The impressive crowns and tiaras of the Iranian Crown Jewels include the Kiani Crown, made of red velvet and surrounded by three horizontal rows of pearls around the circumference of the crown. In all, the total number of pearls on the crown number 1,800. Other jewels include rubies, emeralds and diamonds.
The Pahlavi Crown was created in 1925 and is also made of red velvet, in addition to gold, silver and encrusted jewels. At the center is a sunburst motif made of a 60-carat brilliant-cut yellow diamond. Unlike the Kiani Crown which is made mainly of pearls, the Pahlavi Crown predominantly displays diamonds.
The creation of the Empress' Crown in 1941 represented the first time in 2,500 years where the wife of the Shah was also being crowned. While not as elaborate as the Kinai and Pahlavi, the Empress' Crown is made of green velvet and white gold. Also featuring a sunburst motif in emeralds and pearls, the crown also showcases rubies and white diamonds.
A symbol of status and power, thrones hold a special significance in the 3,000-year-old history of Iran. Embellished with rare materials such as gold, silver and precious stones, Iran's thrones create an aura of greatness.
The most splendid of Iran's thrones was The Peacock Throne. At the time of its construction in the 1600s, the Shah Jahaan ordered his artisans and jewelers to create a raised platform-style throne that would surpass all others. Sadly, the Shah was eventually assassinated and his beloved throne was dismantled - its precious stones and gold stolen and never recovered. Thereafter, the throne of the Iranian Monarchy was known as the Peacock Throne and during this time several thrones were made which copied features of the original.
The Naderi Throne, unlike the Peacock Throne, was more chair-like and was created in the 1800s to be disassembled into separate pieces for portability. Made of wood, the throne features gold and encrusted jewels such as diamonds, rubies and spinels. In all, 26,733 jewels adorn the throne. A dazzling design depicting a peacock tail highlights the backrest, along with figures of ducks and dragons.
The throne was chosen for a moment of 20th-century history when Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi selected it for his coronation in 1967. Although he ascended the Iranian throne in 1941, Shah Pahlavi vowed to bring growth and emancipation to his country before holding a coronation. Twenty-five years later, and after much successful reform, Shah Pahlavi was crowned Iran's ruler in a splendid ceremony, followed by the crowning of the Empress Farah Diba.
Lewis Jewelers is proud to carry the full line of Pandora Jewelry. Pandora bracelets, Pandora charms, and Pandora beads are only a part of the collection. For more information, Lewis Jewelers, 2000 West Stadium Blvd., Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48103, 877-88-LEWIS or visit the website.