As purveyors of fine jewellery, we thought it only right to share some interesting facts about the most famous fine jewellery of all: the Crown Jewels. Not only does this world famous collection of jewellery feature huge amounts of gold, some absolutely enormous diamonds and a punch bowl that can hold the contents of 144 bottles of wine, it also has some fascinating history and some rather strange stories.
A Tale of Two Crowns
Did you know that during a monarch’s coronation ceremony they don’t use one crown but two? The St Edward’s Crown, created for Charles II in 1661, is only worn for a short space of time when it is placed on the monarch’s head at the peak of the ceremony. This is the moment when the trumpets sound, the bells ring out and there’s a 62 gun salute at the Tower of London. Oddly enough, until 1911, the precious stones for this crown had to be rented out for each coronation. At the end of the coronation ceremony, this crown is swapped for the much more commonly worn crown, The Imperial State Crown. When you see Queen Elizabeth II in all her stately finery, it’s this crown she is wearing. The crown is made of gold, silver, and platinum and contains 2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, 269 pearls, and four rubies. It also features the famous Cullinan II diamond which, at a staggering 317 carats, is not the biggest diamond in the Crown Jewels.
A Spoon Like No Other
Tragically, the original Crown Jewels were destroyed by Oliver Cromwell after the execution of Charles I but one very old item survived and it was an 11th century anointing spoon used to anoint monarchs with oil at their coronations. It was sold off instead of being melted down and was eventually returned to Charles II by the man who bought it in an effort to get back into King’s good books.
The Biggest Diamond
Most people have heard of the Cullinan diamond but did you know that, before it was cut, it was a gobsmacking 3,106.75 carats? It was cut into 105 stones of assorted sizes with the biggest being the Cullinan I which is the largest clear cut diamond in the world at 530.4 carats. This huge diamond now graces the top of the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross which was used at Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation.
Very Special Biscuits
During World War II, when the possibility of a Nazi invasion of the UK was very real, George IV ordered the Crown Jewels to be removed from the Tower and hidden. They put them into biscuit tins and took them to a cellar deep below Windsor Castle which could only be accessed through a small trapdoor. After the war, they were returned to the Tower.
The coronation ceremony of a monarch in Great Britain has changed very little over the last 1,000 years and the Crown Jewels are an integral part as they symbolise the handing over of power from one monarch to the next and also symbolise their duty to look after the country and the people. The first detailed account of a coronation ceremony like the one used today was in 973 when the Anglo-Saxon King Edgar was crowned at Bath.
Although we know the jewellery we sell doesn’t compare in any shape or form to the Crown Jewels, we do like to think we sell some lovely vintage and modern items that we ordinary, non-royal folk can enjoy and treasure. To speak to us about buying, selling, repairing, restoring or customising/adjusting jewellery, please call 01273 239763 or email email@example.com.