Tuesday, May 29, 2012

St. Edward’s Crown: An Introduction


St. Edward's Crown, worn by Queen Elizabeth II
Photo Source: For English Fans Blog

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

Lined with the purple velvet ‘Cap of State’, St. Edward’s Crown, made by Sir Robert Vyner for the coronation of Charles II, is a gold circlet edged in silver pearls and set with approximately sixteen large semi-precious gems outlined in clusters of diamonds. Four gold cross pattee and four gold fleurs-de-lis appear to grow from the rim of the crown. Emerging from the tops of the crosses, two complete arches of gold cross each other beneath the monde of gold.

Symbolizing the independent sovereignty of the monarch, these jeweled arches are lined with silver pearls with gemstone clusters adorning the length of each arch. At the pinnacle of the crown rests a final cross pattee, ornamented with diamonds and other gemstones. Two silver tear-drop pearls hang delicately from the crossbeam of the cross pattee, and a single spherical pearl rests upon the very top of the cross.

In total, there are 444 precious and semi-precious gems in this crown, which weighs over four pounds (2.23 kg). When the crown was remade for George V, jewelers replaced worn pearls with rows of gold spheres and added new gemstones, including green tourmalines, topazes, aquamarines, amethysts, and rock crystals. The crown was last used to crown the current sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II, in 1953.


BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. Pam Pearce. “Glimpses of the Crown Jewels: A Talk by Alan Jobbins,” Sussex Mineral and Lapidary Society Journal, 208 (July/August 2007), http://www.sussexmineralandlapidarysociety.org.uk/smlsjrnl.htm.
2. Kim Rush, “St. Edward’s Crown: Britain’s Coronation Crown,” UK/Irish History @ Suite 101 (July 17, 2009), accessed May 9, 2012, http://kim-rush.suite101.com/st-edwards-crown-a132758.
3. “St. Edward’s Crown,” London Online, accessed May 9, 2012, http://www.londononline.co.uk/monarchy/St_Edwards_Crown/.
4. “British Crown Jewels,” Jewelry Gems About, accessed May 9, 2012, http://www.jewelrygemsabout.com/gem-history/british-crown-jewels.html.

*Victorian clip art courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

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