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The Tower of London Part 3.
The Crown Jewels.
The priceless jewels which make up Great Britain's Crown Jewels are safely guarded in The Tower of London. The term Crown Jewels refers to the regalia and vestments worn by monarchs at their coronations and on other state occasions. In the collection there are crowns, sceptres, orbs, swords, rings and golden spurs. The Royal Robe, worn at ceremonies is also in the collection, along with the Royal banqueting plate, church plate and even christening fonts which are still used by the Royal Family.
The sceptre used at the coronation is the symbol of the monarch's temporal power and contains the biggest diamond ever discovered, the Star of Africa, called The Cullinan Diamond. This diamond was found near Pretoria in South Africa and named after Sir Thomas Cullinan, the chairman of the company which found it. The South African Government bought it as a coronation gift to King Edward 7th in 1901. The stone was cut into nine major and ninety-six minor diamonds, and the cutting process took eight months
Imperial State Crown, left side
King Edward's Crown was the one used at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth 2nd on June 2nd 1953. It contains much of the crown made in 1661 for the coronation of King Charles 2nd, and also pearls owned by Queen Elizabeth 1st who reigned from 1558 to 1603. This crown is constructed of solid gold and set with 444 precious stones.
The Imperial State Crown containing more than 3,000 precious gems is worn by Her Majesty the Queen on state occasions such as the opening of Parliament each year. This crown was made for Queen Victoria's coronation in 1838 but it contains many of the jewels set in the previous crowns of the 17th, and 18th centuries. In the front of this crown is set The Black Prince's Ruby, a stone given to Edward the Black Prince by the King of Castile, Pedro the Cruel in 1367. This ruby is surrounded by another four rubies, eleven emeralds, seventeen saphires, 277 pearls and 3000 diamonds.
Other crowns in the collection are the Queen Elizabeth (Our queen's mother) crown set with the Koh I Noor Diamond, translated as 'Mountain of Light' from India. King Edward's crown, Queen Mary's Crown, the small crown of Queen Victoria, the crown and the diadem of Queen Mary of Modena, and the Princes of Wales Crown. As well as the state crowns there are coronets and tiaras worn by members of the Royal Family, their children and their wives, covering many hundreds of years.
This priceless collection is well worth a visit when in London.