The Treasury of National Jewels, also known as the National Jewels Museum of Iran is one of the most amazing and unique museums of Iran located in Tehran. This museum is affiliated with the Central Bank of Iran where this national treasury, known as one of the world’s most famous collections of diamonds and other jewels, is stored and has become available for public visiting since 1992 after being removed from view for a long time. Located on Ferdowsi Street of Tehran, this museum is one of the most striking attractions of Tehran that should be visited in this city.
The History of the Treasury of National Jewels
The antiquity of the precious collection stored in the Treasury of National Jewels traces back to the Safavid Era. From 1501 to 1735, the Safavid kings started to purchase gems and precious jewels from different parts of the world like the markets of India, the Ottomon Empire, and European countries like Italy, France, and moved them to Isfahan, the glorious capital of Iran during that era. When Mahmud Hotak or Mahmud Afghan (the Afghan ruler of Hotak Dynasty) attacked Iran and overthrew the Safavid Dynasty while Shah Sultan Hossein was ruling Isfahan, this treasury was plundered and scattered by the Afghan invaders.
Later, Nader Shah the founder of the Afshar Dynasty who ruled Iran from 1736 to 1747, and is known as a powerful king in the history of Iran, sent some letters to India (where a part of this treasury was kept) and asked them to send the pieces back to Iran, but never received an answer, however during the campaigns of Nader Shah in India in 1745, he took a part of this treasury back to Iran and dedicated it to the Imam Reza Holy Shrine in Mashhad. After Nader Shah got executed, his exchequer got looted and some pieces of this jewelry collection like the precious Koh-i Noor diamond were stolen and exited from Iran once again.
The Treasury of National Jewels of Iran got expanded during the Qajar Dynasty (18th century) by adding new pieces and installing new jeweled stones on old pieces like the Taj-e Kiani (the royal crown), Naderi Throne, and the Jewelled Globe. During this era, this treasury was kept inside the Golestan Palace, and during the Pahlavi Dynasty, these pieces were kept in the basement of the Marble Palace (one of the royal residences of the king). When the construction of the Central Bank of Iran got completed in 1937, the treasury was transferred to this place and this precious and wonderful collection including pieces of jewelry from the Safavid, Afsharid, Qajar, and Pahlavi empires is kept here.
Some of the most famous pieces
The magnificent Darya-I Noor, which literally means the Sea of Light is known as the largest piece of pink diamond in the world, and the most famous and precious piece of jewelry in the Treasury of National Jewels. Darya-I Noor and Kuh-I Noor (Mount of Light) are like two mates that have been kept together throughout history and belonged to Nader Shah. After his death, Ahmad Shah Durrani took Kooh-I Noor to Afghanistan, and then it was moved to India and finally was given to Queen Victoria. Today the Kuh-I Noor diamond is placed on the crown of the queen in England.
The Darya-I Noor, which is a pale pink 183-carat diamond, originally belonged to Shahrokh Mirza the grandson of Nader Shah, and then it was possessed by Lotf Ali Khan Zand, however, after his death, it was added to the treasury of Qajar kings and become one of the favorite pieces of Nasser al-Din Shah who believed this diamond used to be located on the crown of Cyrus the Great.
Crown of Pahlavi
Used by Reza Khan and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi for their coronation instead of the Kiani Crown used by Qajar kings, the Crown of Pahlavi is made of gold and silver and is covered with very fine red velvet. This crown was made by Haj Serajeddin the famous jeweler of the time. This glorious crown is 2080 grams and is decorated with 3,380 pieces of diamonds, 5 pieces of emerald, 2 pieces of sapphires, 368 pieces of pearls.
Nader Aigrette or Nader Paisley
The Nader Aigrette is a paisley-shaped set of diamonds and green emerald stones, including a central cabochon emerald with amazing color, and five small drops hanging from the paisley. The rest of the paisley is covered with rows of diamonds cut in different shapes like rose, spears, crescent, etc. This delicate aigrette was later used by Reza Khan Pahlavi.
Globe of Jewels
This globe, which is one of the most significant objects that you’ll see in the Treasury of National Jewels, was made in 1869 by the order of Naser al-Din Shah. It was made by a group of craftsmen and jewelers, and although it is a very delicate piece of art the countries are not easily recognizable because of the sparkle of the stones. It is made with 34 kilograms of gold and 51366 pieces of jeweled stones including the loose stones of the treasury. The oceans and seas are shown with emerald stones and lands are identified with rubies, diamonds, and pale rubies. The stand of the globe is made with gold covered with gems.
The Peacock Throne (Sun Throne)
This masterpiece was made by the command of Fath Ali Shah the Qajar king, under the supervision of Nezamoldoleh the governor of Isfahan. This throne is made with gold and jeweled stones and it was named the Sun Throne because of the sun-shaped form located on its top, however, its name was changed to Peacock Throne (Takht-e Tavoos) after the king’s marriage with a lady named Tavous Tajodoleh. The Peacock Throne was kept in the Golestan Palace until 1981 and then they moved it to the treasury.
Visiting the Treasury of National Jewels
The National Jewels Museum of Iran is open only from Saturday to Tuesday from 2 pm to 5 pm so we suggest that you consider the museum’s schedule while planning your Tehran tour and it accepts visitors who are above 12 years old. Please also keep in mind that visitors are not allowed to take their personal stuff like cell phones, bags, smartwatches, cameras, etc. inside the museum.
If you are interested in exploring the amazing museums of Tehran on a guided tour check out the Tehran Museum Tour of PackToIran, which is one of our popular day tours.