Order of the Pleiades
Order of Pleiades (1st Class) - Iranian Imperial Era.svg
Sash and Star of the Order
Awarded by
Imperial Coat of Arms of Iran.svg
Head of the Iranian Imperial Family
Imperial Arms of the Shahbanou of Iran.svg
Spouse of the Head of the Iranian Imperial Family
TypeDynastic Order
Royal houseHouse of Pahlavi
SovereignCrown Prince Reza of Iran
Grand MistressEmpress Farah, Dowager Empress
Grades1st Class, 2nd Class, 3rd Class
Precedence
Next (higher)Order of the Lion and the Sun
Next (lower)Order of the Red Lion and the Sun
EquivalentOrder of the Crown
Order of the Pleiades Ribbon Bar - Imperial Iran.svg

Ribbon of the Order

The Order of the Pleiades (Persian: نشان هفتپیکر Nishân-i-Haftpaykar), also named Order of Haft Paykar, was an all-female order of the former Imperial State of Iran.

History

The Order was instituted not later than 1955 by the last Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. In 1959-67 it consisted of two, and since 1967 - of three classes (1st class, 2nd class, and 3rd class), and was awarded to female persons of high status, for deserving special recognition or conspicuous appreciation by the Shah.[1]

It is believed that the Order honours Soraya Esfandiary-Bakhtiari, the second wife of the former Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The name of the order refers to the Pleiades, a star cluster located in the constellation Taurus in the northern hemisphere. Soraya is a female Persian name with a reference to the Pleiades.

The order was abolished by the Islamic Republic of Iran after the fall of the last Shah. Since then, the order merely continues as a Royal Family Order, and Empress Farah Pahlavi, the third wife and widow of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, is still the grandmaster of this order.

Classes

Attached to the order are three medals: first class in gold, second class in gold and silver, and third class in silver. They were usually awarded to female members of the Imperial Household for long or faithful service. The medals are worn suspended from a bow.

Insignia

The sash badge of the first class is a round medallion made of gold gilt surrounded by six open ornaments, shaped as large double loops in gold; with between the ornaments partly white enameled, small shell-shaped designs. The central disc is made of blue enamel, with placed on it seven golden stars, topped with brilliants, and depicting the star cluster Pleiades. Furthermore, the disc itself is surrounded by a white enamel and gold edged ring with twenty-four stars thereon, made of gold and brilliants. The disc is topped by a stylized imperial Pahlavi Crown, enameled in different colors and enriched with carbuncles and brilliants.

The shoulder badge is similar to the sash badge, but is larger in appearance.

The sash badge of the second class is almost identical to the badge of the first class, but instead the medallion and the stars on it are made in silver gilt only. Similarly, the crown is enameled without the carbuncles and brilliants.

The star consists of a blue enameled central disc, with placed on it seven golden stars, topped with brilliants, representing the stars of the cluster Pleiades. The disc is surrounded by a white enamel and gold edged ring with twenty-four stars thereon, made of gold and brilliants. This as a whole is surrounded by six open ornaments, shaped as large double loops in gold; with between the ornaments partly white enameled, small shell-shaped designs. The disc is topped by a stylized imperial Pahlavi Crown, enameled in different colors and enriched with carbuncles and brilliants. At the back a pin is attached to wear the star on the left breast.

The sash is made of a white coloured silk moiré ribbon, with dark blue stripes near the borders. The badge is attached to the sash by a suspension ring from the top of the crown.

The medals show the image of the badge of the order as a full raised relief. The rim includes a large lip, on which the seven small, shell-like designs rest. The medals are topped with the stylized imperial Pahlavi Crown to which a simple ring is attached. The medals are unenameled and identical in appearance, except for the metal pertaining to the particular class.

References

  1. ^ "Orders and Medals of the Empire of Iran until 1979". Medals. Retrieved 13 January 2014.