|The Bolurfrushan Family|
|Current region||Iran, United Arab Emirates, United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Germany|
|Place of origin||Persia, Qajar dynasty|
The Bolurfrushan Family (Persian: بلور فروشان) or Bolourforoushan and also Barjesteh and Saser family is a prominent industrial and mercantile family of Iranian origin, active in Iran from before the establishment of the Qajar dynasty. Throughout the 19th century the main activities of the family were the manufacture and distribution of crystal and stainless steel products through its company The Bolurfrushan Factory, the import of crystal ware and commodities such as tea and international banking.
The Bolourforoushan or Bolurfrushan families consist of two separate families, interlinked through bloodlines and business. After having been known as ‘Bolourforoush’, both families, except the Barjesteh and Sasar branches, opted for the Bolourforoushan family name at the time of Reza Shah, who was actually the one suggesting this family name. Before that Soltan Ahmad Shah Qajar had granted Haj Mohammad Hossein Bolourforoush the title 'Bolourforoush Makhsous' and the Order of the Lion and the Sun.
The Bolourforoushan families of Tehran became well-known and prominent throughout Iran by establishing the first crystal and stainless steel factories, and the first private bank and insurance companies in Iran, Bank Saderat Iran and SafeCover Insurance.
By appointment of Reza Shah, the Bolurfrushan Crystal and Stainless Steel Factory constructed the Talar-e Bolour (Hall of Crystal) and the Talar-e Berelian (Hall of Brilliance) in the Golestan Palace. The Bolurfrushan Crystal and Stainless Steel Factory also created and supplied the chandeliers and mirror-work for the Marble Palace (Tehran).
The Bank Saderat started operating at 13 November 1952 with a board of three directors and 20 employees to become, several years later, the largest privately owned bank in the wide region, also having branches in Hamburg (since 1961), London, Paris, Nice and New York. The bank was nationalised on 28 May 1979 and thus became state-owned until June 2009, when shares were offered at the Tehran Stock Exchange.
After 40 years it had 3,300 branches and more than 30,000 employees. This made it one of the largest banks in the Middle East with 28 international branches and services in 12 countries. It now owns the Tashkent Bank and three joint venture banks Future Bank, Bahrain, Arian Bank, Afghanistan and Honor Bank, Belarus.
Bolurfrushan International Group
The Bolurfrushan International Group traces its origins to the late 18th century Tehran, originally called the Bolurfrushan Crystal and Stainless Steel Factory and the Group's main activity originated as the manufacturing and distribution of crystal and stainless steel products; the Group’s namesake.
Currently based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates with interests in various geographies. Headed by Abbas Bolurfrushan and Arya H. Bolurfrushan and has a leading role in capital investments, insurance, real estate and retail, private equity, venture capital in the Persian Gulf region, as well as in the field of philanthropy.
- In the 19th century, the Group diversified into commodities imports (mainly Tea) before foraying into banking activities.
- In 1952, the Group co-founded the first private bank in Iran, Bank Saderat Iran (Export Bank of Iran). The bank grew to 3000 branches across the country with international branches in Paris, London, New York, Nice and Hamburg.
- In 1971, the Group pioneered the first private Insurance brokerage in Iran with an aim to develop the country’s insurance sector.
- In 1979, the Islamic Revolution nationalized all banking and insurance activities in the country. As a result, the Group temporarily continued operations out of New York City. Following the Iranian Revolution in 1979, the Group moved most of its operations to Dubai where it continues to be based today.
Prominent family members
- Haj Mohammad Esmail Bolourforoush, merchant, manufacturer and importer of crystal objects and landowner in Tehran, married to Belgheis Khanom (Khanom Najaffi), daughter of Haj Seyyed Javad Khazaneh, treasurer of Persia at the time of Nasser ed-Din Shah and Mozaffar ed-Din Shah
- Haj Mohammad Hossein Bolourforoushan 'Bolourforoush Makhsous', crystal merchant and industrialist, president of the Tehran Chamber of Commerce, president of the Lion and Sun organisation and member of parliament, business partner of Haj Mohammad Hassan Bolourforoushan.
- Haj Mohammad Hassan Bolourforoushan, crystal merchant and industrialist, business partner of Haj Mohammad Hossein Bolourforoushan.
- Hossein Barjesteh (1899–1972), considered one of the best lawyers in Tehran of his time.
- (Haj Agha) Hassan Barjesteh (1901–1969) keliddar (Keeper of the Keys) of the Shrine of Emam Reza in Mashad until the massacre by Reza Shah’s troops in the shrine. Prominent legal adviser in Bazaar matters in Tehran.
- Prof. Dr. (Mohandes) Mohammad Bolourforoushan (1908), professor of Mineralogy at the University of Tehran, Chairman of the Board of the Bank-e Saderat and starting player in Iran’s first national soccer team.
- Haj Ahmad Agha Bolourforoushan (Bolurfrushan), banker, married to Effat Khanom Mofarrah, whose brother Mohandes Mofarrah initiated the founding of the Bank Saderat.
- Behzad Bolour, artist and musician, BBC Persian Radio presenter and BBC Persian TV presenter and senior producer. Presenter of the KOOK show.
- Reza Qoli Khan Samsami Mohajer 'Rafi ol-Molk' (1888-1956), provincial governor, Head of the Archaeological Department and Deputy Minister of Education, was married to a sister of Hossein and Hassan Barjesteh.
- Prof. Dr. Sharif Adib Soltani (1920-2013), economist, Director General of the Ministry of Finance and Professor at the University of Tehran, was a member of this family through his mother.
- Prof. Dr. Mehdi (Nader) Amani (1931), sociologist and writer, Professor of Demography, Dean of the Social Sciences Faculty of the University of Tehran and project leader for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) was a member of this family through his mother.
- Engineer Gholam Hossein Homayoun (1915), Director General of the Ministry of Economy and founder of the Iran International Exhibitions Company was married to Sima Bolourforoushan.
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- "International Museum for Family History".
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- The 1974 Iran Who's Who. Tehran: The Echo of Iran. 1974.
- Bank Saderat Iran (Iran Export Bank)
- Bolurfrushan International Group.
- Dar ol-Qajar, Qajarpedia: Bolourforoush(an), Barjesteh and Sasar Families.
- Bloomberg: "Dubai Helps Iran Evade Sanctions as Smugglers Ignore U.S. Laws".
- Barjesteh, van Waalwijk, van Doorn & Co's: The Bolourforoush(an) Family Geneaology.