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Persian jewelry

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The region loosely associated with the Persian Empire is located between the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea and includes modern-day Iran, parts of Pakistan, Turkey and Iraq. It dates from 500 BC, with the era of the Medians spanning more the 2,500 years. Their dynasties plundered many treasures from neighboring kingdoms as well.

The jewelry of the early eras encompassed every conceivable type including accessory rings, pendants, bracelets, earrings and necklaces, many adorned with precious stones. A favored motif depicted an iconic sun design associated with royalty, namely Ahuramazda, the god of Zoroaster, a winged creature worshiped by the early Persians.

Other preferred designs included small chariots fashioned in silver or gold, representing Persian kings riding into battle. Lions also served as an insignia of royalty and were liberally employed as an enduring symbol as well.

The vast Persian treasure was amassed over many centuries and conquests and also included a huge cache of loose rubies, emeralds, sapphires and diamonds. Caskets were adorned with many jewels and included caskets of natural pearls.

The famed Crown Jewels of Persia contained historical gems such as the Darya-i-Nuror (Sea of Light), a rare blue Indian diamond of 180 carats. The Kohinoor, a magnificent round brilliant of more than 100 carats, now resides in the Tower of London in the Queen Consorts Crown. The Empress Farah Dibas crown, by Van Cleef and Arpels, was used at the coronation of Iran’s Shah Reza Pahlavi. It is now on display in the central bank in Tehran.

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