As promised, all the tiaras up for voting (see left!) will be profiled before the close of polling. Up first is the one I consider the most exotic with an intriguing history to boot. After research, this fabulous gem entry turned into a two-for!
The Noor-ol-Ain Tiara is named for its eponymous, extraordinary centerpiece: a sixty-carat, oval brilliant-cut, pale pink diamond. This extremely rare color of diamond came from the Golconda mines in Northern India, almost certainly the Paritala-Kollur Mine in Andhara Pradesh. Noor-ol-Ain translates to “Light of the Eye” in Persian.
The Noor-ol-Ain Diamond became part of the Iranian Imperial collection after the Persian General Nader Shah invaded Northern India in 1739 and occupied Delhi. According to legend, the General returned the crown of India to the Mughal emperor and took all of their vast treasure in exchange. In addition to the Noor-ol-Ain, the General took the legendary Peacock Throne as well as the Darya-i-Noor and Koh-i-Noor diamonds. All of these spoils remain in the Iranian Crown Jewels to this day save the Koh-i-Noor, which, as we know, is set in the Queen Mum’s Coronation Crown.
The Noor-ol-Ain Tiara was commissioned in 1958 for future Empress Farah Pahlavi’s wedding to Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran. A modern design by Harry Winston, the platinum tiara’s spectacular center stone is surrounded by 324 pink, yellow and “clear” diamonds ranging in size from fourteen to nineteen carats. This dazzling corona is said to weigh about four-and-a-half pounds. Of interest, the huge centerpiece contributes only twelve grams (just over 0.4 ounces).
After research in 1965, it was concluded that the Noor-ol-Ain was originally part of a colossal diamond that once graced the throne of the Mughal emperor. The other piece, the world’s largest pink diamond, was the Noor-ol-Ain’s travel buddy: the Darya-i-Noor. Weighing in at 182 carats (36 grams) and the same shade of pale pink, the “Sea of Light” is a free-form, tabular cut set as a broach with 457 diamonds and 4 rubies. Like the Noor-ol-Ain, it is also held at the National Treasury of Iran in Tehran.
The fact that she got the smaller half of the pink “mega-rock” or whether pink was her favorite color (like mine!), the Empress Farah was one lucky bride, the headaches such a heavy headdress incurred regardless.