Fascinating Details About The Crown Jewels, Britain’s Most Precious Treasures

Are there any accessories more decadent than the British Crown Jewels? Today, these world-famous treasures are held at the Tower of London, where they’re guarded with extreme diligence. People come from all over to gaze upon these remarkable items, but they’re not just nice to look at. No, these are items with a fascinating yet controversial history. And with King Charles’s recent coronation, people are all the more eager to discover the truth about the Crown Jewels.

A big collection

The Crown Jewels comprise a whole range of over-the-top objects. There are crowns in the collection, obviously, but also scepters, orbs, plates, and even cutlery. In total, it’s said 140 items make up the assortment, but that only tells part of the story. These pieces are adorned with all sorts of embellishments, meaning the collection boasts more than 23,500 gemstones.

Complicated time

The Crown Jewels we can see today mostly date back to the time of Charles II, who was crowned King in 1661. That’s not to say the monarchy didn’t possess plenty of jewels before that time, but these older items were mostly sold or disassembled. Things were complicated for British royals in the 17th century.

Not in the best shape

The 1620s in particular were rough for Charles I. His finances weren’t in the best shape, so he had to take the step of selling a lot of his Crown Jewels. He held onto the main items in the collection, but things were about to get even messier. Civil war gripped England in 1642 and Charles’ enemies got their hands on the collection.

Melting down and selling the jewels

Charles was executed in 1649 and his regalia was next to go. As symbols of royalty, it was quite a statement for the newly established republican government to sell and melt down items from the collection. But there was also a practical reason for doing it, too: the Crown Jewels were really valuable, and the government needed the money!