Over the centuries many a crown has been commissioned for coronations and travels. As have many diamond jewels. Here’s an overview.
The precious ceremonial crown jewels have been used by the British monarchy for centuries. They represent an historical collection of pieces of exquisite jewels and are believed to date back to 200 – 150 B.C.
The Crown Jewels
Over time the jewels became a collection of important pieces signifying transfer of power. The collection includes not only crowns but also customised diamond wedding rings, armills, orbs, swords, sceptres, the royal robe and spurs.
The oldest piece in the collection is the 12th century gold Anointing Spoon. It is still used to anoint the Sovereign with holy oil. But the main piece of the collection is the St. Edwards’ Crown that is always used by the Archbishop of Canterbury to crown a queen or king.
The most famous piece is the Imperial State Crown which has no less than 3,000 gems. The stones come from the old Imperial Crown which has been made a number of times. The crown is usually worn by the king or queen during the conclusion of the coronation when she or he leaves Westminster Abbey. It’s also worn during the State Opening of Parliament.
Photo from dailymail.
George IV State Diadem
This is the crown the Queen is seen wearing on coins and iconic British stamps. The crown was made in 1820 for George IV to wear upon entering Westminster Abbey during his coronation. It’s worn today as a travelling crown during exiting coronations or the opening of parliament.
Small Diamond Crown of Queen Victoria
This much smaller crown was worn by Queen Victoria. It is made of silver and boasts more than 1,100 diamonds. The crown was placed next to Victoria in her coffin and was left in her will to the Crown Jewels.
State Crown of George I
This was a new crown made for George I and was used for ordinary kingly use. It was decorated with coloured glass as opposed to gems but later the glass was replaced with rented diamonds for the coronation of George II.
George IV Coronation Crown
King George IV was an opulent ruler. He had a new gold and silver crown made for his 1820 coronation. He wanted to get rid of the traditional French fleurs-de-lis that British crowns usually had and replace them with thistles, roses and also shamrocks. This was vetoed though and the crown was adorned with 12,000 diamonds which were rented. The diamonds had to be returned in 1823 and the crown was left empty. De Beers later reset it with diamonds in 1996.
The Imperial Crown of India
This was the last crown made for a king. It’s not a part of the Crown Jewels as those can’t leave Britain. The crown was made in 1911 for George V to wear during his trip to Delhi Durbar. It weighed over two pounds and has not been worn again.
The Crown of Queen Alexandra
This crown was made in 1902 for the wife of Edward VII. It was the first crowning of a queen consort in 71 years and the crown had four arches as opposed to the typical two. The Koh-i-Noor diamond was set into the crown at the coronation and other paste gems were set into the crown.
This is just a short example of some of the opulent Crown Jewels. Over the centuries there have been an abundance of customised diamond wedding rings, necklaces and earring designed for the monarch and their families.