Expand your U.K. IQ: A solid-gold treasure trove
August 2, 2006
The Crown Jewels,royal collection.
Looking at the splendor of riches that make up England’s crown jewels, weighed down with gems and dripping with decorations, one can be forgiven for thinking about one item, “Man, that must be one heavy hat.”
Locked away in the vaults of the Tower of London — traditional home of both murderous criminals and some of the world’s most valuable jewels — the centerpiece of the Crown Jewels, the St. Edward’s Crown, looks dense and hot and precariously weighty.
That’s because it is. Made of solid gold, it is set with the world’s two largest top-quality diamonds, named Cullinan I and Cullinan II, and other geological heavyweights such as the Koh-I-Nor diamond.
But the crown is but one component of the jewels. According to the official Web site for the Tower of London, crowns, robes and other ceremonial regalia have been held there for more than 600 years, though they have been known collectively as the “Crown Jewels” since the 17th century. That distinction came about following the destruction of the old jewels in 1649 after an abolition of the monarchy, and a new set was created for King Charles II.
The collection now includes the crown, the orb and scepters used during coronations, and the Imperial State Crown, sometimes worn on great state occasions. The jewels can be viewed at the Tower of London. Click here for information.
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