19 October 2019

The Noor-ol-Ain Tiara

Mohammed Reza Pahlavi and Farah Diba on their wedding day, December 1959 (AFP via Getty Images)

The Treasury of National Jewels in Iran holds a stunning collection of gems and jewels from the Persian imperial past. Today, we've got a closer look at one of the nation's most important treasures: the Noor-ol-Ain Tiara.

The Noor-ol-Ain Tiara, ca. 1967 (Wikimedia Commons)

The tiara was commissioned by Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran, in 1958. The piece was made by Harry Winston and set with white, pink and yellow diamonds. The largest stone in the tiara is one of the largest pink diamonds in the world: the 60-carat Noor-ol-Ain Diamond, brought to present-day Iran from India in the 18th century by Persian soldiers. The diamond's name means "the light of the eye."

The Shah and Farah Diba on their wedding day, December 1959 (Central Press/Getty Images)

A year after the tiara was made, it was worn for the last major royal wedding ever held in Iran. The bride, Farah Diba, was the Shah's third wife. He had been married and divorced twice before, and his third marriage was motivated in part by his need for a male heir. His only daughter, Princess Shahnaz, helped coordinate his relationship with Farah, who was a twenty-one-year old architecture student in Paris when they met. They were engaged in November 1959, and their wedding was held that December.

Farah Diba on her wedding day, December 1959 (AFP via Getty Images)

On her wedding day, Farah paired the tiara with a diamond necklace, a diamond bracelet, and earrings with large, pear-shaped yellow diamond drops. Her wedding gown was designed by Yves Saint Laurent, who was working at the time for Dior. The heavily-embroidered gown was sleeveless but featured a matching coat.

Queen Fabiola of Belgium, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, Farah Pahlavi, and King Baudouin of Belgium at the Marble Palace in Iran, November 1964 (AFP/Getty Images)

Farah wore the tiara regularly for gala events during her husband's remaining years on the throne. Above, she wears the tiara during a banquet given at the Marble Palace during an official visit from King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola of Belgium in 1964.

Farah Pahlavi wears the tiara during the Belgian royal visit, November 1964 (AFP/Getty Images)

Here's a closer look at Farah in the tiara on that particular occasion.

Farah Pahlavi wears the tiara, October 1971 (AFP/Getty Images)

When the Pahlavi family was exiled from Iran in the late 1970s, this tiara stayed behind. It is state property, and today, it's held in the Central Bank in Tehran with the rest of the national jewel collection.