Once Muhammad Reza Shah placed the Pahlavi crown on his own head during his coronation ceremony in 1967, he placed this crown on the head of his wife, the Empress Farah. Until that date, the wives of Persian monarchs were not crowned, and so it became necessary to design a new crown for the occasion. That honor was bestowed on the French jewellers, Van Cleef & Arpel.
In accordance with tradition, the gems used in this crown were selected from loose gems in the treasury. The crown is made of green velvet, and white gold. It has more than 38 emeralds, 105 pearls, 34 rubies, 2 spinels, and 1,469 diamonds. The total weight of the crown is 1,481 grams. The largest emerald is located in the center of the sunburst on the front of the crown, and weighs approximately 91.32 cts. The two largest spinels are approximately 83 cts., and the largest pearl is approximately 22 mm. (0.9 in.) long. The photograph below shows Empress Farah wearing the crown immediately after her coronation ceremony.
This necklace is made of silver, holding diamonds and emeralds mounted in a frames of gold. Not much is known about it, except that a single document states that it belong to young lady with the high title of Ghamar-o'saltaneh. She could have been a Qajar princess, the neice of Fathali Shah, who married Nasseridin Shah and was the mother of Mozzafaredin Shah Qajar. The largest emerald is 10 cts.
While this may look like a woman's tiara, it is actually a decoration which Fathali Shah often wore on a tall black woolskin hat. It can be clearly seen on a number of minature paintings of Fathali Shah, usually holding two white egret feathers. The gem stones on this item consist of spinels, rubies, and diamonds, mounted on gold with a silver frame. Total height: 13.5 cm. (5.5 in.) The largest diamond is 10 cts., the largest spinel is 50 cts.
This sword was a favorite of Fathali Shah Qajar, who is seen posing with it in a number of minature portraits, such as the one below. The scratches on the hilt indicate that much use was made of the sword. The blade was made by one of Persia's best swordsmiths who, along with his father, was employed by the royal court in the 17th century. There is at least one other sword among the imperial jewels which was made by the same swordsmith. The blade is made of excellent quality steel, and bears an inscription in gold to the Qajar king, dated 1213 (lunar calendar.) The scabbard is encrusted with pearls, emeralds and gold. The spinel on the hilt is approximately 40 cts. The two spinels on the scabbard are between 20 and 25 cts
There are three thrones located in Tehran. The Sun Throne (also known as the Peacock Throne) and the Marble Throne both consist of a large, raised platform upon which the King would kneel.
The third throne, pictured here, is known as the Naderi throne. Chair-like thrones like this were used in ancient Iran by Achaemenid dynasty in the 5th century BC, as well as the 17th century Safavid dynasty.
Historians believe that Nader Shah, upon returning from his campaigns in India in 1739, brought nine jewelled thrones in addition to the Mughol Peacock Throne to Iran. It is further reported by Malcom (History of Persia, vol. II, p.37) that Nader Shah was so fond of the famous Peacock Throne that he had an exact duplicate made, using other gems from the treasury. However, today there is no trace of any of these thrones, and historians unanimously agree that they were destroyed after the death of Nader Shah in 1747.
The Naderi throne seen above can be taken apart into 12 separate sections. It was intended to be portable, to be carried along when the King moved to his summer residences.
The throne is constructed of wood, covered with gold, and encrusted with jewels. The history of this throne is not well known. Even its name is confusing. This particular throne has verses written on it which attribute it to Fathali Shah. Diaries written by travellers who visited Fathali Shah's court at the time also mention a throne such as this one, though the throne may have been refurbished by Nasseridin Shah. So why is it called the Naderi throne if it is not related to Nader Shah? The answer is the the term "Nader" also means "rare" or "unique" in the Persian language. Thus, this isn't Nader's Throne, rather the name refers to the fact that the throne is unique or rare.
The height of the throne is approximately 225 cm. (7.5 ft.) Among the 26,733 jewels covering the throne, there are four very large spinels on the backrest, the largest of which is 65 cts.; there are also four very large emeralds on the backrest too, the largest of which is approximately 225 cts. The largest ruby on the throne is 35 cts.
The designs which can be seen on the throne include a peacock tail on the backrest, ducks, dragons, leaves and tree branches. A rather tame-looking lion rests on the front panel of the footstool. The Naderi Throne was last used in 1967 for the coronation of Mohammad Reza Shah, as seen below:
During the reign of Fathali Shah and by his order, a great throne was made under the supervision of Nezamoldoleh Mohammad Hossein Khan Sadr Isfahani, the governor of Isfahan, using gold and loose stones from the treasury. As a motif of the sun, encrusted with jewels, was used on the top of the throne, it became known as the Sun Throne. The throne was later called the Peacock Throne, after Fathali Shah's marriage to Tavous Khanoum Tajodoleh who was known as Lady Peacock because her first name, Tavous, is the Persian word for a peacock.
Thus, this "Peacock Throne" has often been confused with the famous Peacock Throne of the Mughol dynasty in India, which was captured by Nader Shah during his campaigns in that country.
Some years after the death of Fathali Shah, Nasseridin Shah ordered some repairs to be made to the throne, adding some panels to it bearing calligraphic verse.
This throne was kept in the Golestan Palace until September 6th, 1980. At that date, it was relocated to the vault of the Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran, where it is on display for the benefit of the public along with the rest of the Imperial jewels. The photograph on the left shows Nasseridin Shah sitting on the steps of the Peacock Throne. The photo to the right shows the Peacock Throne when it was in the Golestan Palace.
This item is not a scepter, as many would naturally assume. Rather, it is a jewel-encrusted battle mace. It was a favorite of Fathali Shah, who is often shown holding it in his miniature portraits. The mace is encrusted with spinels and diamonds, from end to end. It is 73 cm. (2.4 ft.) long. The largest diamond weighs 17 cts., and is located on the very top of the mace. The largest spinels are the six surrounding the top of the mace, each weighing 40 cts.
This jewel-encrusted ball has a secret. It has a diameter of 7.5 cm (3 in.) and does not have any openings on its surface. It was made with exquisite precision. But what is it?
When shaken, it emits a distinct rattling sound. Based on this, some have concluded that it was a plaything intended for the amusement of the King. It is shown laying the floor in three portraits of Fathali Shah.
On the otherhand, the rattling sound cound simply be due to a loose gem piece inside the sphere, so others have theorized that it is a symbol of power - but there is no history of such an item being used in that capacity. The item wieghs 257 grams (about 10 oz.) and is made entirely of gold, diamonds, emeralds, rubies and spinels.
Jewelled DaggerThis dagger, which has a traditional Iranian shape, is encrusted with spinels, emeralds and diamonds. The inscription attributes it to the reign of Fathali Shah. The total length of the item is 44 cm. (18 in.) The largest spinel is approximately 60 cts.
The gemstone on the left is the world's largest spinel. It is 5.5 cm (2.17 in.) wide and weighs 500 cts.
The gemstone on the right weighs 270 cts. and is the world's fourth larget spinel.
The world's second largest spinel weighing 414 cts. is in the Kremlin museum, and the world's third largest spinel weighing 361 cts. is part of the British crown jewels.
The stone on the right, though smaller, has greater historical significance. It bears a three hundred and fifty year old inscription attributing it to Jehangir, the Mughol Emperor of India. According to legend, in response to criticism for having his name inscribed on the stone, Jehangir stated "This stone shall make my name more famous than the entire dynasty of Tamerlane." His prediction was at least partly correct, as Tamerlane's dynasty died out after 150 years, while Jehangir's name lives on inscribed on a number of gemstones in the Iranian treasury and foreign museums. This particular stone used on an armband for Nader Shah in 1739 AD. The larger stone has a hole in it. According to a diary entry of the court physician to Nasseridin Shah, the King told the physician that the stone once adorned the Golden Calf, and that a diamond later covered the hole. There is no way to confirm Nasseridin's Shah's fanciful description, and the diamond has since fallen off.
Except for spinels, turqouise, emeralds, rubies, pearls and diamonds, it is rare to find other kinds of gemstones in the treasury. These two bracelets are the exception.
The top bracelet is probably of Russian origin. The simple gold band and frame of diamond and pearl highlights the exceptionally clear red garnet stone, weighing 70 cts. In the bracelet below, the center stone is a 35 ct. sapphire. The stones to the left are a 20 ct. tourmaline and an sardonyx, and the stones to the right are a 25 ct. chrysoberyl and an onyx. The stones are framed with diamonds.
According to accounts, when Nasseridin Shah met Queen Victoria in Windsor Castle in 1873, he had five rows of diamonds and 5 large spinels pinned to his chest. Photographs of Nasseridin Shah, and his successors, show them wearing large diamonds on their chest too. However, as fashions changed, these diamonds were left with the rest of the loose gems in the treasury. In addition to the tens of large diamonds which are individually on display in the treasury, there are thousands of smaller diamonds which are displayed, piled onto 2 trays. Hundreds of these diamonds were selected for the construction of the Empress Farah's crown, but there are so many loose diamonds in the piles that their absence was not apparent to the eye. The diamonds seen in this picture are just a sample of the loose diamonds in the treasury. The tray itself is 20 cm. (8 in.) wide, and the smallest diamond on the tray is 5 cts.
Flacons of this design are visible in Persian miniatures as far back as the 15th century. Flacons like this are also seen in the various miniatures of Fathali Shah, though none look like this particular one. This was not merely a decorative item - flacons like this were actually used in the royal court on an everyday basis. The long neck suggests that this was a wine flacon. While the region of Shiraz was known for its excellent wine, it is doubtful that Fathali Shah would have permitted the consumption of alcohol in the court, as Islam forbids the consumption of spirits. Thus, the flacon could have been used for sherbet drinks. The total height of the flacon is 46 cm. (19 in.) and it is 15.4 cm. (6 in.) wide. Two of the largest emeralds on the flacon are approximately 45 cts. each, and the largest spinel is 35 cts
Since the royal kitchens were far removed from the royal dining room, dish covers were needed to keep the bowls of food warm, and to make sure no one put poison in the King's food. The particular dish cover seen in this picture is only one of the many jewel-studded dish covers in the treasury. They are all shaped the same, with a broad lip that covered the dish, and a dome-shaped center which acted as a handle. The dish cover is made of solid gold. Eight pearls surrounding a diamond decorate the very top of the dish cover. The rest of item is studded with emeralds, spinels, diamonds and rubies. The diameter of the dish cover is 19 cm. (7.5 in.) and its height is 10 cm. (4 in.) The largest four rubies are 12 cts. each, the largest emerald is 30 cts., and the largest spinel is 25 cts.
The "Iranian Yellows"These African diamonds were acquired by Nasseridin Shah on his third trip to Europe in 1889, and are collectively known as the "Iranian Yellows." There are a number of collections of large diamonds on display in the treasury, however due to security concerns, the largest of the diamonds in the collection are not pictured here. The largest diamond shown here is 135 cts., while the largest loose diamond in this particular collection is 152 cts. Three other diamonds shown here are 120 cts. each.
On the occassion of Mohammad Reza Shah's marriage in 1935, a commission of Iranian and French jewellers was bestowed the honor of designing jewellery to mark the auspicious occasion. This platinum and diamond necklace was made for the Queen Mother. There are a total of 469 diamonds on the necklace, including the 9 briolette-cut diamond drops. They range from 10 to 35 cts., and the center diamond is 45 cts.
In total, there are thousands of loose diamonds on display in the treasury. Many of these diamonds were brought from India by Nader Shah. It is assumed that these diamonds were mined during the Mughol dynasty in India. Of the thousands of diamonds, only three have a verifiable history: the Darya-e Noor ("Sea of Light"), the Noor-ol-Ain which in now incorporated in a tiara, and the Taj Mah diamond which is shown here on the lower left. It weighs 115 cts. The other three loose diamonds shown here are 72.5 cts., 54.5 cts., 47.5 cts., and 54.35 cts. The one on the top left was probably cut from an even larger diamond.