14 October 2017

Empress Farah's Floral Tiara

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This week, our exploration of tiaras from imperial families arrives in Iran, where the Pahlavi family reigned from 1925 until 1979. Today's floral tiara was worn by the country's last empress, Farah Pahlavi.




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The tiara, which is topped with diamond floral, ribbon, and leaf elements, shares some similarities with other tiaras worn by Farah during her time as shahbanou. Note the curved, bird-wing style base of the tiara, which comes to a downward-facing point in the middle of the wearer's head. This style of base can also be found in Farah's Seven Emeralds Tiara, which was made for her by Harry Winston. The setting of the gems also resembles both the emerald tiara and the Noor-ol-Ain Tiara, another Winston creation, which makes me think that this tiara may also have been made by the same firm.


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The larger stones at the base of the tiara are darker in hue. To me, these don't appear to be diamonds. In a series of portraits taken during the 1970s, Farah paired the floral tiara with diamond and topaz earrings. As she was fond of matching sets of jewelry, I'd posit that the large stones in the tiara are perhaps also topazes. Ultimately, though, I don't believe we know precisely which gems are set in the piece.


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Many of the imperial jewels from the time of the Pahlavis are accounted for today. Some remain in the state crown jewel collection, which is housed in Tehran. Others were left behind when the family fled into exile. The whereabouts of this tiara, however, are apparently unknown. One more tiara mystery still unsolved!