My personal favorite.

The crown above was made by Van Cleef & Arpels in 1967 for Farah Pahlaviit is made of platinum, gold and around 1500 diamonds, 36 emeralds, 105 pearls, 34 rubies.

The coronation of Farah Pahlavi in 1967

 

The Treasury of the National Jewels is located in The Central Bank of Iran and is only opened to public for around two hours per day.

A testimony of the glorious past of Iran, of the ambitions of former rulers, but also the suffering of regular people who had to put their sweat into the insatiable thirst of wealth of the ones who were ruling them.

Platinum tiara. 294 diamonds and 7 emeralds.

The collection is truly impressive and, as a follower of the last royal family, I could recognize the pieces from different books and articles I had read on them, from covers of international magazines or from documentaries on the wealth of the Pahlavis.

Farah Pahlavi wearing the above described crown on the cover of Paris Match.

“I saw Farah Pahlavi wearing this on the cover of Paris Match” I would say in the basement of the Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Crown used by the Qajar Dynasty for their coronations, known as Kiani Crown. Pahlavi did not like this crown and ordered one that is pictured below

Actually, I even noticed when the guide indicated a crown to have been worn by the Shah Mohammed Reza, when I knew exactly I had seen it on Farah Pahlavi’s head.

Darya-i-nur Diamond

Darya-i-nur Diamond means the Sea of Light and it is the largest pink diamond in the world.

The truth is that we don’t pay much attention to these details or we don’t really make the connections between the information we have or we receive. I’m not talking tourism only…it could be religion, faith, the creation of the world. It’s hard work to get out of those boxes we’ve been put in by the society, family etc. and where we’re hiding, get out of the loop and step up.

The place is crowded and it’s normal if you think it is only opened two hours a day, but most of the visitors are Iranians looking to see the creativity and skill of their co-national artisans.

This globe weights 34 kg out of which 3,6 kg is gemstones. To be more precise 51.366 of them.

The globe above made me smile because apparently, the reason why the countries are not well depicted is because the artisans were good at making jewelry not at geography. Fair enough! However, the seas and oceans are green, in emerald and land is shown in rubies. The Equator is shown with a line of diamonds and rubies and Iran is standing out in diamonds, same as South-East Asia, England and France.

Even the most renowned specialists in the field were not able to evaluate the value of the collection that is beyond imagination.

Crown used by Pahlavi Kings for their coronations inspired by Sassanid kings’ crowns. You can see this crown used in the picture above.

Exquisite, impressive, outrageous, incredibly beautiful, stunning!

I cannot find the word to describe the collection that impressed the monarch of the world.

Emerald box made of 92 matching emeralds.

At the 1971 celebration organized by Shah Mohammed Reza to celebrate 2500 years of empire in Iran at Persepolis, were over 60 monarchs and head of states were invited, rumor had it among them that they should not worry about the jewelry they should wear because Farah Pahlavi’s jewels would be more extravagant and, obviously, more valuable. And they were right.

A story

I watched a wonderful documentary on the celebration and a funny tale made me smile: one royalty was asked how the event happened. Apparently, the invitees were arriving, yet they could not be welcomed so fast, so there was a line at the entrance of the luxurious tent put up solely for this occasion. People were confused, because there is a protocol, some were head of government, others were monarchs with full powers, others were presidents, but they adapted and were chatting outside. The reporter asked how did the socialists get along with the capitalists and the member of the Greek royal family said: oh, they were getting along best of all.

Decorated buckler (small shield) used in the war with India. The precious stones were added later.

Hundreds of strings of pearls looking like silk, diamonds, platinum, emeralds, rubies. Sky was the limit for the ones who ruled Persia over time.

By the way, the name of Iran was adopted in 1935, when the other countries received a note stating that the country should be addressed from then onward on this name.

 

From the booklet in high quality sold for only $1,5 at the Museum

 

Read here the second part of the story:

Venice Fantasy – Just Art and Feeling

The two days I spent in Venice were all about fantasy, my own fantasy. I walked around with a mask although the Carnival is over, I went by myself to fancy restaurants, drank Aperol Spritz (Spritzer, the orange one) to-go, talked to some very interesting people, got – as usual – my fair share of free stuff, took my very first gondola ride through the canals thinking of the Sarah Dunnant’s In the Company of the Courtesan which I left on the night stand when I moved from my second floor room to the Middle East.

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March 29th, preparing for Venice

Some people you spend days with and then forget they exist. But all of a sudden they reappear in your life and fill it with joy.

How I get rid of crew – I tell them I’m going to the museum.

Plan for Venice sightseeing done! It’s 7 PM and I’m ready to shut down – I did wake up at 4 AM after all. And tomorrow I’ll get up a little earlier than 3 AM. Flight attendant life!

 

March 31st, 4 PM

I have prepared almost the whole month for this trip – selecting my outfit that I’m so proud of, looking for things to do. March was a tough month for me with long flights and short layovers – Berlin, Hangzhou, Perth, Manchester – so this long Venice was like a breath of fresh air at the end of the month.

It’s almost spring and I chose to wear kilted black boots, a sky blue sweater, black pants and the colorful Berber motifs long blazer which I bought from Beirut, the blanket size blue cotton scarf and the green purse with the happy elephant hanging from the handle. I’m all set and I picked the outfit especially for Venice.

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On the train from Qarto d’Altino (East Venice) to Venezia St. Lucia. At some point there’s only water on both sides of the rail and the land is only as wide to support the train. It reminds me of Sylt, an high end island in North Germany where I went for a detox program a few years ago. To arrive to the island – one hour ride by train, even for the cars – we had the same view. In that trip was the very first time when I started writing about what I was experiencing.

One of the most touching moments of my traveler life was when I stepped outside the station in Venice. I was simply shocked of the beauty of the place in front of my eyes. By know I have seen so many places, but few compare with Venice. The canal right in front of the station, and beautiful palaces with arched windows and gondolas with gondoliers wearing blue and white stripes and hats with navy blue ribbon.

I don’t know what my purpose in life is, but I want to live one month in Venice. Besides that month in Buenos Aires and few others in South-East Asia. Yes, I want to travel all my life.

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First of all, I booked a gondola ride (30E) from the booth in front of the station and bought a map (3E – yes, nothing’s for free in Venice). Since I was supposed to meet with the gondoliers in Campo S. Luca, I started walking by the Grand Canal on the same side of the station.

The city is simply thrilling, with or without the prosecco and to-go Aperol Spritz that I had. I hopped here and there, having huge slices of pizza, or classy tagliata di manzo con rucola e parmigiano, but never gave up the prosecco.

The paths/streets are narrow and odd, a true real life labyrinth. Sometimes you could think they all look the same or get lost. Besides, don’t rely too much on Google Maps as the signal is quite low because of the tall buildings and narrow streets. It’s also tricky and makes your brain work more than normal, because getting to a parallel street might mean you need to walk 5 other streets otherwise you either reach a dead end or the canals and you cannot walk right by the water.

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Lucky as always, today it’s a beautiful day, the last of March and I’m walking and walking with my Lebanese robe, stunned at the beauty of the city, munching on a Pescatore al Pistacchio – so beautifully matching the robe and my green purse, admiring the sweets displayed in the windows, the colorful pasta for sale, the navy hats, the flowers in front of each door and window, the street indicators, the gondoliers talking on the phone or shouting at each other, talking with each other as they row, pushing the gondola from the wall with their leg against the walls, the so Italian clothes hanging on a rope, the Borsalino hats, the round windows by the canals, the flying Lion of Venice, the pigeons, the lofty gondolas in gold and black or gold and red, the tourists, the boats distributing supplies from toilet paper to rare wines to the restaurants by the canal, the wooden poles keeping the gondolas parked perpendicular to the buildings, the columns, the arches, the decorations, the colors, the Italian spirit and the vibes, the elaborate masks, the art, the mystery of the city, the Murano glass shops. Water and beauty!

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After I reached the meeting point for the gondola ride, I did not use the map or asked people around. Because Venice is a place where you need to get lost. Besides, I love to get lost, to see what I attract. So this time it was:

  • Bacaro Jazz bar, a normal bar unless the whole ceiling would not be covered by bras of all colors, shapes and sizes. Here, I stepped in wearing my mask and robe, asking if I could take some pictures and ended up being there for almost two hours, either talking to the bartender (who prepared a complimentary amazing Spritzer for me, adding a garnish with cucumber, olives and cherry tomatoes) or talking to myself while listening to Frank Sinatra’s Don’t Take Your Love From Me and When Your Love Has Gone
  • I’m wondering how the other solo female travelers are, cause I know I’m weird.
  • Jewish neighborhood where some pubs were still opened at midnight, they offer Kosher ice cream and Kosher pizza and where I met one Arabic restaurant owner and a Moldavian bartender
  • A Somali smoking in the garden of the restaurant where I had dinner asking me some naughty things;
  • A senior and very Italian restaurant – Trattoria da Bepi – owner by Guglie Bridge being over friendly, but pleasant and fun. A street entertainer singing Oci Ciornie and me singing long the lyrics. Met with him a few hours later, towards them morning in the train station where here recognized me after my…mask;
  • The amazing cocktails at Frulala made with spirits and fresh fruit juice, tasting absolutely amazing. How did I not think about this before?
  • One whole restaurant – Trattoria Alla Palazzina – staring at me have dinner with my robe and mask on in my own fantasy.

Of course, I did not miss the Piazza San Marco, the stunning Basilica di San Marco, the Palazzo Ducale, the Campanile Tower and the sunset by the Canal. I did not visit the interior of any of the above, but it’s on my list. Because I chose to spend my second day in a modern art environment and where better to go than the Peggy Guggenheim Collection – an oasis of calm and art, the former home of the American socialite in Venice.

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And you know what? I make my own rules when I travel. If I want to see a museum or palace I see it, but if I don’t who says I need to kill myself looking at something I know I won’t like? On the other hand, if I want to look at one painting two hours, that’s what I will do. Simple as that, make your own rules. I make my own! Why? Because it makes me happy!

When I reached Piazza San Marco, I thought it’s the most beautiful place on Earth, really. The narrow streets are so charming, that I cannot know how to see more, how to express my joy. As a child I absolutely loved secret paths, mysterious labyrinth so I think this is a good place for kids.

By now I’m wearing the gold mask I bought (prices between 2,5E and a few thousands of E, depending on your budget). I walk boldly and mind my own business, alone. I am fascinating for men over…a certain age. Young men will never understand me.

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One thing that caught my attention was the people asking me why I wear the mask, they looked strange at me, one said I have horns. How judgmental is this human race if, even in Venice, people judge you because you wear…a mask. In Venice?

Someone is playing Andrea Bocelli’s Con Te Partiro at the accordion and another day is over on the canals of Venice.