Kings and queens of England have stored crowns, robes, and other items of their ceremonial regalia at the Tower of London to represent over 800 years of history of the British Monarchy.
Since the 1600s, the coronation regalia itself commonly known as the ‘Crown Jewels’ have been protected at the Tower.
An ancient ritual – The Crown Jewels are so significant because they symbolize the passing of authority from one monarch to another during the coronation ceremony.
Powerful symbols – At the heart of the collection is the Coronation Regalia itself. These were used for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.
St Edward’s Crown is the centerpiece of the coronation regalia and is later exchanged for the lighter Imperial State Crown Which is also worn at State Openings of Parliament.
St Edward’s Crown
Imperial State Crown
Stars of the Show – Among the precious stones on the crowns are Cullinan II, the Stuart Sapphire, St Edward’s Sapphire and the Black Prince’s Ruby.
On the Sovereign’s Sceptre and rod is Cullinan I – world’s largest top quality white cut diamond.
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother’s Crown houses the Koh-i-Nûr (‘Mountain of Light’) diamond.
In addition to crowns there are also various orbs, swords, coronets, rings and other pieces of regalia. Current estimates place the value of the British Crown Jewels between $4 to $6 billion.
British Royalty’s Love of Sapphires
Aside from the Crown Jewels, members of the royal family have developed valuable personal jewelry collections, and they are known for their fondness for sapphires.
George VI Victorian Suite of sapphire jewelry
Sapphire Jubilee Snowflake Brooch
Dubai Looped Sapphire Parure
Sri Lanka has been the world’s premier source of Blue Sapphires.
The most famous sapphire engagement ring in the world is the oval blue Ceylon sapphire and diamond ring that Princess Diana accepted upon her engagement to Prince Charles.
Queen Elizabeth’s Brooches and their secret meanings
1. The Scarab Brooch
The Queen received the Scarab Brooch as a personal gift from her husband, Prince Philip in 1996. Because of this, it carried a special sentimental value when she wore the gold, ruby and diamond piece for her and Philip’s official platinum anniversary portrait.
2. The Prince Albert Brooch
This brooch carries a legacy dating back to Queen Victoria’s reign. Queen Victoria designated the brooch as an heirloom of the crown in her will – meaning that each subsequent reigning monarch would inherit it. All four Queens and Queen Consorts have worn it since.
3. The Centenary Rose Brooch
This brooch was a 100th birthday present for the Queen Mother. It is framed by 100 diamonds and features a hand painted Queen Elizabeth Grandiflora Rose (a flower bred for the Queen’s 1953 coronation) on rock crystal.
4. The New Zealand Silver Fern Brooch
This was given to the Queen by the Auckland mayor’s wife, Lady Allum back in the 1950s. It is designed in the shape of a fern – one of New Zealand’s emblems. The Queen wears this for New Zealand centric occasions.