British Crown Jewels
The British crown jewels are the most talked about in the world. It is a fascinating collection of various valuable gemstones set in different items, including the crowns, rings, sceptres, bracelets and robes. The estimated value of the total collection is around £3.5 billion today. The British Regalia is used in the coronation ceremony of the Kings of United Kingdom. They are also worn by the members of the Royal family during prestigious occasions.
Among the crown jewels on display in the Tower of London is the Crown of St. Edward which is made ofgold.The crown comprises of 444 precious gemstones which include citrines, topazes, amethysts, tourmalines and sapphires. The crown weighs 2.23kg and is used in all the coronation ceremonies. Next is the Imperial State Crown, which is also the most famous one. It was remade twice; once for King George and for Queen Victoria. It has over 3000 jewels, out of which 2,868 are diamonds, 11 are emeralds, 17 sapphires, 273 pearls and 5 rubies. Among the gemstones are the celebrated Black Prince’s Ruby and the Cullinan II diamond. The Imperial Crown of India of King George V from Delhi has rubies, emeralds and 6 thousand diamonds. The Crown of Queen Mary comprises of 2,200 diamonds.
The platinum Crown of Queen Elizabeth is the first crown to be made from this metal. The highlight of the crown is the 105 carat Koh-I-Noor diamond adorning the centre. It is originally from Punjab in India and is also known as the Mountain of Light. The crown also contains the 22.48 carat Lahore Diamond and a 17 carat diamond from the Ottoman Empire. There is the State Diadem of King George IV which is without any gemstone.
Apart from crowns, the British Regalia also consists of sceptres. The Sceptre with the Cross has a Cullinan I diamond known as the Great Star of Africa and weighs 530 carats. The Queens Ivory Sceptre, as evident from the name, is made from Ivory and is priceless. The Sovereign’s Orb has a band of jewels and a bejewelled Cross delivered to the sovereign during the investiture rite of the coronation. There is another Sceptre with Dove but it is without any precious gemstone.The Swords form an integral part of the British Regalia. The bejewelled Sword of Offering given during the coronation to the king consists of various jewels. The hilt and the scabbard both are encrusted with rubies, sapphires and diamonds. The largest sword in the collection is the Great Sword of State and it consists of various precious gemstones.
Other items include a ring for the sovereign which constitutes of 1 large sapphire along with 20 diamonds and 5 rubies. It also has 31 diamonds adorning the shank. The Queen Consorts Ring weighing 50.15 carats has a large ruby set inside surrounded with 14 diamonds on the shank. The Anointing Spoon is the oldest item belonging to the 12th century and is made from gold. The spoon has pearls set on the silver gilt.
Apart from these, there is a lighter version of consorts crown made for Queen Victoria which is encrusted with diamonds. Besides the Regalia, Queen Elizabeth II, in her own treasure box, a has Brazilian Aquamarine set of necklace with earrings and bracelets, diamond brooches, a collection of emerald items, sapphire, diamond and pearl sets, ruby and diamond necklaces set in gold, ruby bandeau, Nizam brooches, diamond and pearl chokers and garter badges made of different gemstones.