The Breathtaking Jewelry Museum of Iran

By: Sara Mashayekh
Pictures contribution of: Shahram Razavi

Sent by: Darius Kadivar

The National Treasury of Iran located in the Central Bank, on Tehran’s Ferdowsi Avenue, is home to the most exceptional jewels of the country. It is officially named “The Treasury of National Jewels” but is commonly referred to as the “Jewelry Museum.” The museum is only open to the public 3 days a week from 2 to 4 in the afternoon and according to a law made by Reza Shah that is still in force today, the government’s representatives are required to be present while the collection is open to the public. The Crown Jewels of Iran are by far the largest and most dazzling jewel collection in the world. So valuable is the collection that it backs the Iranian national currency as a reserve.

It is very difficult to describe one’s feelings when entering a room full of shining and glittering jewels, especially if those jewels are closely connected to one’s national identity and history.
Simply said the National Treasury of Iran is a sea of light!

The collection, independent of its cultural and historical aspects, is a joy to see. The dim lights of the main room could hardly veil the constant glitter of the beautiful diamonds all over the room. But diamonds are not the only shining objects. There are tons and tons of gold, rubies, emeralds, and pearls. It’s hard to manage to look at very closely, let alone remember, all the objects in the collection and of course it is very difficult to choose one over the others. There are hundreds of small boxes and watches, so many shining tiaras, necklaces, bracelets and pins, each just as beautiful as the next.

In the middle of the room, in a separate cabinet, I saw a famous sight, one that had filled many of my childhood fantasies. It is a beautiful globe made of 35-kg pure gold and 51,366 pieces of jewelry. Made by the order of Nasir Al Din Shah of the Qajar Dynasty, on this globe the water is emerald and the earth is ruby. Iran and England are displayed with diamonds. The globe stands 110 cm high (44") and has a diameter of 45 cm. (18 inches) and is covered with over 51 thousand gemstones. The seas and oceans are shown with emeralds. Land masses are mostly displayed in rubies and spinels. Iran, Britain, France, and parts of South Asia are shown in diamonds. Approximately 35 kilograms (75 pounds) of pure gold is used in the globe.

But even here among all these shiny objects, it is hard for me to separate myself from the history I know all too well and to simply judge each object for its beauty and worth and not its historical significance. My favorite remains the not-so-shiny robe worn by the greatest minister in the history of Iran. But the robe of Amir Kabir is just as breathtaking as the rest of the collection, even if not for the same reason.

While it is very hard to choose one piece stands out - the world largest uncut diamond of Daryayeh-E-Noor - that rightfully bears the name that describes the entire collection, THE SEA OF LIGHT. This is the sister diamond to the world's largest cut diamond, the "Kooh-e Noor" which is its Persian name and means "The Mountain of Light". Both were taken by Nader from India to Iran.

The Kooh-e Noor diamond was looted by Ahmed Beg upon the assassination of Nader Shah of Iran in 1747. Ahmed Beg took the Kooh-e Noor diamond along with other valuable jewels of the Iranian Crown Jewels and left Iran. The gem was later taken to England where the East India Company took possession of it. In 1850 it was presented to Queen Victoria. At present it rests on one of the royal crowns and is kept in the Tower of London. Daryay-E-Noor stayed in Iran to become the diamond of the National Treasury.

The Coronation of Pahlavi

The Nader throne in the background is studded with an array of some 26,733 precious gems - mostly rubies, emeralds and diamonds, set in a base of 23k gold.

Pahlavi Crown - Crown Jewels of Iran

The Pahlavi Crown has 3380 diamonds (totalling 1144 carats), the largest (60 carats) being the central yellow diamond, in the middle of the diamond sunburst. In three different rows there are a total of 369 natural pearls and around the crown there are 5 emeralds (the largest around 100 carats) and some sapphires as well. Many of the elements of the design of the crown were inspired by the crowns of the Sassanian Dynasty crowns of Iran.
The largest of the 3,380 diamonds of the Pahlavi Crown of Iran is a brilliant-cut yellow diamond of 60 cts. which is located in the center of the front jewel.

The Imperial Sword of Iran

The whole handle, hilt and scabbard of the "Imperial sword" or "Shahi Sword" of Iran is encrusted with around 3000 stones, including large emeralds, rubies, diamonds and spinels. The sword measures 103 cm.

Jewel-studded Coronation Cape

The upper part of the back of the 15 meters long dark-emerald green velvet coronation cape of the former Iranian empress is studded with a spectacular, colorful and sparkling array of the most precious diamonds, rubies, emeralds and pearls which make up a beatiful pattern of Persian paisley.

Spectacular Coronation Crown and Neckless wore by last queen.

Nour-ol Ayn Tiara - Crown Jewels

This beautiful tiara of the Iranian Crown Jewels, called the "Noor-ol-Ain" Tiara was worn by Empress Farah for her wedding in 1959. The centerpiece of this tiara is the Noor-ol-Ain diamond - a brilliant cut, almost tear shaped diamond of approximately 60 cts - and one of the largest pink diamonds in the world.

Tiara wore by last queen

Taj Kiani

Museum of Iran also includes the “Taje Kiani” (the crown of Fath Ali Shah). This amazing collection has much to say about Iran, its glittering history and its glorious past.

Nader Shah's diamond & rubies hat-tiara

Nader Shah Afshar wore this beautiful tiara around the base of his tall Persian hats. This is not a female tiara, although it very well could be. But it has never been worn by any female royalty.

The Nader Aigrette – Iran

The Nader Aigrette - Diamonds and emeralds Weighing 781 carats in all, and standing 13 cm high (Approx. 6") And was worn by Nader shah (1688-1747 A.D.) on the front of his Persian-style hat.

Princess Shahnaz Tiara

Princess Shahnaz of Iran was the oldest daughter of the last Shah of Iran.

Princess Ashraf's Tiara

The tiara of Princess Ashraf Pahlavi - The last Shah of Iran's twin sister.

Princess Fatemeh Tiara

This beautiful Tiara was actually commissioned during the reign of the Qajar Dynasty (1779-1925 A.D.) Princess Fatemeh of the Pahlavi Dynasty, one of the sisters of the last Shah of Iran, favored to wear the tiara on several occasions.

Princess Shams Coronation Tiara

This diamond and emerald tiara was worn by the Shah's sister Princess Shams at the coronation.

" Simply said the National Treasury of Iran is a sea of light! "