15 June 2017

Tiara Thursday: Princess Ashraf's Ruby Tiara

Emeralds are by far the most represented colored stone in the abundant royal jewel collection once used by Iran's former monarchy. But when they did rubies, they did them well.

Princess Ashraf's Ruby Tiara
Pyramids of smaller rubies support clusters of large rubies surrounded by diamonds in this tiara, which is also accented with marquise and round diamonds and topped by a graduated series of pear-shaped diamonds. The ruby diadem was worn by Princess Ashraf ol-Molouk Pahlavi (1919-2016).

Princess Ashraf
Wikimedia Commons
Princess Ashraf was the twin sister of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran. Princess Ashraf wore the tiara to one of the gala events celebrating the coronation of the Shah and the  Shahbanou (Empress Farah) in 1967. This was a prosperous time for the Iranian jewel collection; several parures were commissioned around this time from Van Cleef & Arpels for use by family members and the Empress at the coronation. (Princess Ashraf wore an emerald tiara to the coronation itself.)

I've always found this tiara to be among the ruby-iest of tiaras, if you know what I mean. Whereas many ruby tiaras are mainly diamonds with just a sprinkling of red stones, this one has a large number of rubies and showcases them well. There are some large and valuable stones here, yet the design has a lightness to it. It wears its carat weight well. Princess Ashraf's Ruby Tiara made a strong showing when you voted for your ultimate ruby tiara, and I suspect it would have a place on the favorites list of many a ruby fan.

Princess Ashraf wearing the ruby tiara
The drawback here is that there isn't a lot of evidence of the tiara in use. And there is not likely to be any in the future, either, because the tiara belongs to the state. As part of the crown jewels, it (and many other tiaras) remained behind when the Iranian monarchy was abolished and the imperial family fled the country in 1979. These jewels are still with the state and are housed in the National Treasury of Iran in the Central Bank in Tehran. It's a good one to spark the imagination, though...

So: A place on your favorites list for this one, or nah?