Jewelled Armband

Armbands were once quite fashionable among Iranian royalty. Many bore highly ornate enamel decorations, and some contained a small amount of soil from Kerbala, the holy site in modern-day Iraq where Imam Hussein, a major figure in Shi'ite Islam, was martyred. The most precious jewels of the treasury were once incorporated on armbands, such as the Darya-e Noor diamond. Armbands fell from fashion by the middle of Nasseridin Shah's reign.

This particular armband is studded with spinels, rubies and diamonds, on a blue enamel background. It does not show a lot of wear and tear, so it may have been designed around the middle of the 19th century. It is 14 cm. ( in.) high, and the center shield is 10.3 cm ( in.) wide. The largest spinel, which is located on the uppermost section of the shield, is 15 cts. Slightly below it is the largest diamond, weighing 20 cts.


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