A Deep Dive Into King Charles' Vast Collection Of Jewels Ahead Of His Coronation
King Charles III inherited a private collection of jewels worth hundreds of millions from his late mother, the Queen. They include diamonds, emeralds, rubies, amethysts, aquamarines and pearls that make up a range of necklaces, earrings, bracelets, brooches, watches and tiaras.
The Monarch's wills are kept under wraps, making it difficult to know the exact jewels that the King has inherited from the late Queen, but a 1993 deal with former prime minister John Major meant private bequests between monarchs would be exempt from inheritance tax.
So, when it comes to the late Queen’s jewellery collection, every gem is believed to have been passed on to the King, all with a deep connection to the monarchy.
Ahead of the monarch's coronation on May 6, 2023 we're highlighting King Charles' private jewellery collection and reminding you of the Crown Jewels to know:
St Edward's Crown
The King will be crowned with the centuries-old St Edward's Crown during his coronation.
Made from solid gold and featuring 444 precious and semi-precious stones, including rubies, sapphires, garnets and tourmalines, a velvet cap and an ermine band, it’s 'the historic centrepiece of the Crown Jewels', according to Buckingham Palace.
It was originally commissioned by crown jeweller Robert Viner for Charles II in 1661 as a replacement for the medieval crown that had been melted down in 1649.
The jewel has been historically used at the moment of coronation, and worn by the late Queen Elizabeth II at hers in 1953.
Imperial State Crown
The King will also wear the Imperial State Crown, placed on the coffin for the lying-in-state and her state funeral following her death on September 8, 2022, aged 96. She, too, wore it at her coronation.
According to Historic Royal Palaces, the crown is made from gold and set with 2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, 269 pearls, and four rubies. It includes some of the most prized jewels in the Crown Jewels collection, such as the Black Prince's Ruby, the Stuart Sapphire, and the Cullinan II diamond.
Made for the Coronation of King George VI in 1937, the Imperial State Crown replaced the one made for Queen Victoria in 1838.
Following Charles’ ascension to the throne, the St Edward's Crown will be returned to the Tower of London where it will remain until the next coronation.
The Koh-i-noor jewel that came from India's alluvial mines thousands of years ago was owned by multiple Indian emperors. It was later acquired by the British Empire, surrendered to Queen Victoria in 1849 and has been a key part of the British Crown Jewels ever since.
However, some Indians have associated the controversial Koh-i-noor with oppressive rule and reportedly called on Camilla, Queen Consort not to wear it on her husband's coronation day.
A 94.4-carat pear-cut diamond will now unexpectedly star in King Charles’ coronation, replacing the Koh-i-noor to sitting in the centrepiece of the crown worn by Camilla.
The Cullinan diamond (also known as the Lesser Star of Africa)
The Lesser stars of Africa were cut from the largest rough diamond ever discovered, the Cullinan.
Two large diamonds cut from the Lesser Stars of Africa rock were privately owned by the late Queen and are part of the crown jewels. Smaller stones, including the Lesser Stars of Africa, which are otherwise known as ‘Granny’s chips’ and 96 other pieces were privately gifted to Queen Mary from the South African government and passed on to her granddaughter Elizabeth.
The Cullinan I is the principal stone in the sovereign’s sceptre that will be displayed at the coronation. It's the largest colourless cut diamond in the world at 530.2 carats. The Cullinan II makes up the state crown and the Cullinan III and the Cullinan IV sit in what is believed to be the most valuable brooch in the world. They are understood to be prized possessions in the King’s jewellery chest.
The Sovereign’s Orb
The Sovereign’s Orb is also presented to the monarch at the point of their coronation and appeared at the Queen’s funeral. It’s characterised by a golden globe surmounted by a cross.
The Coronation Spoon
The 12th Century Coronation Spoon is used for anointing the sovereign with holy oil during the coronation ceremony. It's known for having survived Parliament's destruction of the Crown Jewels in 1649.
Who owns the Crown Jewels?
Held in a trust by the King or Queen for the nation, corn jewels are passed on to the next monarch when they become king or queen
Where are the Crown Jewels kept?
They are guarded in the Jewel House at the Tower of London.
How old are the Crown Jewels?
The ceremonial treasures that make up the Crown Jewels collection mostly date back to 1660.
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