Iranian Crown Jewels

Iranian Crown Jewels

The Imperial Crown Jewels of Iran ("alternatively known as the Imperial Crown Jewels of Persia") includes several elaborate Crowns and decorative Thrones, 30 tiaras and numerous aigrettes, a dozen jewel laden swords and shields, a vast amount of precious unset gemstones, numerous plates and other dinning services cast in precious metals and encrusted with gems and several other more unique items ("such as a gemstone globe") collected by the Iranian monarchy during its 2,500 year existence.

afavid Conquests

The majority of the items now in the collection were acquired during the Safavid Dynasty which ruled Iran from 1502 to 1736 AD. An Afghan invasion of Iran in 1719 saw the then capital at Isfahan sacked and the Iranian Crown Jewels taken as plunder by the invaders. By 1729 however, after an internal struggle of nearly a decade, Nader Shah Afshar ("one of the most well known Safavid Shahs") successfully drove the Afghans from Iran. In 1738, the Shah launched his own campaign against the Afghan homeland. After taking and raiding the cities of Kandahar and Kabul, as well as several principalities in northern India, the victorious Nader Shah returned to Iran with what remained of the plundered crown jewels as well as several other precious objects now found in the Iranian Treasury. These included several heavily jewel-encrusted thrones and a copious number of diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphires and other precious gemstones. Three of the most prominent acquisitions from this conquest were the Koh-i-Noor and Darya-ye Noor diamonds, ("still amongst the largest in the world") as well as the Samarian Spinel.

Modern Usage

The crown jewels were last used by the Pahlavi Shahs, the last dynastic family to rule Iran. The splendor of the collection came to the attention of the western world largely due to their use by Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi and his consort Shahbanu ("Empress") Farah Pahlavi during official ceremonies and state visits.

The Iranian Crown Jewels are considered so valuable that they are still used as a reserve to back the Iranian currency ("and have been used this way for several successive governments"). During the reign of Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1937, ownership of the Imperial treasury was transferred to the state. The jewels were transferred into the vaults of the National Bank of Iran and where they were used as collateral to strengthen the institution’s financial power and furthermore as backing for the national monetary system. [] This important economic role is perhaps one reason why these items, which are undeniably symbols of Iran's monarchic past, have been retained by the current Islamic Republic.

Public Display

Due to their great value and economic significance, for many centuries the Iranian Crown Jewels were kept far from public view in the vaults of the Imperial Treasury. However, as the first Pahlavi Shah had transferred ownership of the crown jewels to the state, his son Mohammad Reza Pahlavi decreed that the most spectacular of these items should be put on public display at the Central Bank of Iran.

When the Iranian revolution toppled the Pahlavi dynasty in 1979, it was feared that in the chaos the Iranian Crown Jewels had been stolen or sold by the revolutionaries. Although in fact some smaller items were stolen and smuggled across Iran's borders, the bulk of the collection remained intact. This became evident when the revolutionary government under the presidency of Hashemi Rafsanjani re-opened the permanent exhibition of the Iranian Crown Jewels to the public in the 1990s, where they remain to this day.

The Imperial Collection

Other Items

* Princess Ashraf Ruby Tiara
* Empress Farah Emerald Tiara
* The Sword of Fath-Ali Shah Qajar
* The Peacock Throne
* The Royal Mace of Iran
* Sword of Nader Shah
* Shield of Nader Shah


External links

* [ Amazing Iran]
* [ Imperial Iran of the Pahlavi Dynasty]
* [ The Imperial Jewels of Iran (images)]
* [ Treasury of National Jewels of Iran]
* Sara Mashayekh, "The Breathtaking Jewelry Museum of Iran", Rozaneh Magazine, January-February 2006, [] .

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