For centuries, the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom have been a source of pride for the British Royal Family. These unique gems have a storied history that has been handed down from generation to generation and adds to their value with each passing year. Here is information on some of the most famous pieces from the collection.
The most iconic of the crown jewels, the St. Edwards crown of today is actually a replica of the original piece. Thought to have belonged to St. Edward the Confessor in the 11th century, the original crown was destroyed by Oliver Cromwell in 1649 during the English Civil War. King Charles II ordered the current crown for his coronation in 1661, and modeled it based on the original.
St. Edward's crown is only used during the coronation ceremony of new monarchs because is is considered a holy relic. It is set with rubies, sapphires, topaz, tourmalines and aquamarine, among other gems, and weighs nearly 5 pounds.
Made for King George VI in 1937, this crown is worn after the coronation ceremony. It is topped with 4 arches - a symbol of sovereignty and the distinguishing feature from a "great crown", which is open and topped with crosses and fleurs-de-lis.
The Imperial State Crown contains more than 3,000 gemstones, including diamonds, pearls, sapphires, rubies and emeralds. Most notably, it is home to the Second Star of Africa, the second largest flawless diamond ever to be cut, as well as St. Edwards Sapphire, the Black Princes Ruby, and the Stuart Sapphire.
This crown is most famous for the legendary diamond it houses. The Koh-i-Noor diamond was presented to Queen Victoria in 1850 and weighs in at 105 carats. Only women in the royal family have worn the diamond, as it is rumored to bring bad luck to any man who wears it. It was eventually set in a platinum crown for the 1937 coronation of Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, the wife of King George VI.
The Crown of the Queen Mother is also interesting because it is detachable at the arches, so that it can be worn as either a full crown or a smaller circlet. In fact, after the death of King George VI, The Queen Mother only wore the crown as a circlet.
One of the two sceptors used during the coronation ceremony, the scepter of the dove represents the monarch's spiritual authority. The Sceptor of the Dove is the less extravagant of the two sceptors, and is a simple golden rod with a gold orb attached to one end. An enamel dove perches atop the orb, which is adorned with bands of sapphires, diamonds, rubies and emeralds.
The Sceptor of the Cross is the more well known and more elaborate of the two sceptors, thanks to the massive diamond it boasts at its head. The scepter is home to the Great Star of Africa, or Cullinan I - the companion to the Second Star of Africa in the Imperial State Crown, and the largest flawless cut diamond in the world. The diamond is topped with a large amethyst and a diamond-encrusted cross. Together, these gems form a sceptor that represents the monarch's authority as head of the state.
Looking to add to your own collection of priceless family jewels? Hamra Jewelers has a wide selection of diamonds, rubies, sapphires and more gems that are sure to stun for generations. Visit our showroom or give us a call at 480-946-5110 to schedule an appointment today.