Iran's former kings certainly had a taste for precious stones! The Qajars and Pahlavis amassed a collection of beautiful crowns, tiaras, sceptres, broaches, amulets, swords and other symbols of power, encrusted with unbelievable numbers of precious stones.
With the overthrow of the last shah, the collection was transferred from the royal palace to the vaults of the Central Bank of Iran. The airport-style security system at the entrance -- no cameras, telephones, cigarette lighters, etc. -- is understandable when you see the more than 30 display cases packed with pieces containing hundreds of kilograms of gold and many thousands of jewels, including grape-sized diamonds and emeralds the size of a ping-pong ball. Our guide told us the precise details of selected pieces and let us observe the rest of the jaw-dropping collection in our own time.
As we browsed we noticed a large number of men in suits shadowing the visitors; I estimated one agent for five visitors.
A breathtaking collection, not to be missed on your next trip to Tehran.