The United Kingdom Crown Jewels: A Royal Treasure
The United Kingdom crown jewels are a collection of precious and symbolic objects that have been used by British monarchs for centuries. They include crowns, sceptres, orbs, swords, rings, spurs, robes, and other items that are worn or carried during the coronation ceremony and other state occasions. The crown jewels are also known as the regalia or the coronation jewels.
The crown jewels are kept in the Jewel House at the Tower of London, where they are guarded by the Yeomen Warders or Beefeaters. They are also displayed to the public in a special exhibition that attracts millions of visitors every year. The crown jewels are not only valuable for their historical and cultural significance but also for their artistic and craftsmanship quality. They contain some of the world’s finest gems and metals, such as diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, pearls, gold, silver, and platinum.
Some of the most famous and iconic pieces in the crown jewels are:
The Imperial State Crown: This is the crown that the monarch wears at the end of the coronation ceremony and at the opening of Parliament. It was made in 1937 for King George VI and is based on an earlier design from 1838. It contains over 2,800 diamonds, including the Cullinan II or Second Star of Africa (317 carats), the Black Prince’s Ruby (a spinel), and the Stuart Sapphire. It also contains pearls from Queen Elizabeth I’s necklace and sapphire from King Edward the Confessor’s ring.
The St Edward’s Crown: This is the crown that the monarch wears at the coronation. It was made in 1661 for King Charles II and is named after St Edward the Confessor, who was buried with his original crown in Westminster Abbey in 1066. It is made of solid gold and weighs 2.23 kg. It contains 444 precious stones, including amethysts, garnets, peridots, rubies, sapphires, topazes, tourmalines, and zircons.
The Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross: This is the sceptre that represents the monarch’s temporal power and authority. It was made in 1661 for King Charles II and contains the Cullinan I or Great Star of Africa (530 carats), which is the largest clear-cut diamond in the world. It also contains 333 other diamonds, 31 rubies, 15 emeralds, 7 sapphires, 6 spinel’s, and 1 composite amethyst.
The Sovereign’s Orb: This is a hollow gold sphere that represents the monarch’s role as Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England. It was made in 1661 for King Charles II and contains 365 diamonds, 18 rubies, 9 emeralds, 11 sapphires, and 1 large pearl. It is topped by a cross that contains a sapphire from King Edward the Confessor’s coronet.
These are just some of the many fascinating and beautiful items that make up the United Kingdom’s crown jewels. They are a testament to the history and tradition of the British monarchy and a source of pride and admiration for many people around the world.
The Imperial State Crown
The St Edward's Crown
The Sovereign's Sceptre with Cross
The Sovereign's Orb
It is topped by a cross that contains a sapphire from King Edward the Confessor’s coronet.