by Steven Terry
If you're a fan of British Royalty and keeping up with their history and current affairs, you likely know something about their vast collection of jewels. Of all the Crown Jewels, their most famous is King Edward's crown, made of almost 450 precious and semi-precious stones, and their collection contains pieces worth even more. The Crown Jewels took five pounds of pure gold to make, along with its stones it's estimated value today is around 39 million dollars. But, there are many more treasures worth knowing about. Keep reading to learn about the British Royalty's insane gem collection.
The Sovereign's Orb
With a name like "The Sovereign's Orb," you know the piece is bound to be fantastic. This precious treasure was made in 1661 and is a hollow sphere decorated with emeralds, rubies, and sapphire. You may be familiar with the piece as it is held during coronation by the sovereign in their right hand. The orb is a symbol of the Christian world and power. It would cost roughly 200,000 dollars to manufacture if it were created today, though Charles I spent 1,150 pounds when it was made. Talk about a return on your investment! This iconic piece is well known and featured in many portraits and paintings when it comes to coronation regalia.
The Jeweled Sword of Offering
Eight years after the War of 1812, the incredible Jeweled Sword of Offering was forged in 1820. Though it's newer than most of the British royal treasures, its value today is estimated to be around 660 million dollars, that's right, million. King George IV created the sword, and he spent around 6000 pounds to have it made. The sword is encrusted with precious gemstones and is purely decorative.
In 1905, King Edward VII was gifted one of the most spectacular diamonds in the world by the government of the Transvaal in South Africa. The Cullinan diamond was gifted at a whopping 3000 carats! The stone was broken down into nine separate diamonds and over 100 smaller brilliant stones by Jewelry Asscher and Co. in Amsterdam. Today the nine larger stones have found other uses. Two of them are used in the Crown Jewels mentioned earlier, while the other seven have found a home as part of the Queen's personal collection. Who knows, maybe she has had a couple set into her everyday fine jewelry.
Cullinan I is the best known and still intact at 532 carats out of all the stones from the original diamond! The stone was placed into the Sovereign's Scepter with Cross in 1910 and has been used at every coronation since. Spectacular!
Mary Modena's Crown Of State
It seems crazy to think that Mary Modena's Crown of State's diamonds have now been replaced with rock crystals, but alas, that was its fate. The crown was commissioned in 1685 for Mary Modena, who was the consort of King James II for his coronation. The crown was made with a vast assortment of diamonds and cost 100,000 pounds (or about 21 million dollars today). It is not as well known as some of the other British jewels and was last used in 1727 by Queen Caroline.
The Imperial State Crown
Lastly, the Imperial State Crown is the newest item in this collection of crown jewels but still must be included. The Imperial State Crown was created in 1937 and contained some of the most historic gems in the royal collection. The crown features the famous Black Prince's Ruby in the cross on its front. The Imperial State Crown contains 2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, 269 pearls, and four rubies, making it a breathtaking sight to behold. The monarch wears the crown as they leave Westminster Abbey after the coronation.
Of course, royal families the world over have vast collections of jewels and are worth studying if the subject interests you. However, the British Royal jewels are some of the most famous throughout history and known worldwide. While you may not have the same budget as a king or Queen, they stand as proof that investing in gems and jewelry is a wise decision for us all. The next time you're in the UK, try and make it to The Tower Of London to visit and lay eyes on the spectacular Crown Jewels.