Dazzling collection of Crown Jewels go on display to mark Diamond Jubilee
16:26 GMT, 28 March 2012
A glimpse of some of the dazzling jewels set to go on display at the Tower of London have been unveiled today.
Around 2.5 million visitors flock to the historic landmark every year to see the bejeweled accessories and it is expected that the Diamond Jubilee and Olympic Games will attract even greater numbers.
New music, improved lighting and restored film footage of the Queen's coronation in 1953 are just some of the highlights of the newly rearranged exhibition which opens to the public tomorrow.
The Imperial State Crown of India, which contains over 6000 diamonds, is prepared for the new exhibition of the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London
For more than six hundred years kings and
queens of England have stored crowns, robes, jewels and other valuable
items at the Tower of London, built on the north bank of the River Thames.
There are 23,578 gems in the collection and the imperial state crown alone holds 2,969 diamonds, 273 pearls, 17 sapphires and 11 emeralds.
Some of the diamonds are bigger than
walnuts, including the Cullinan I – found in 1905 and once the largest
uncut diamond ever discovered – and the 105-carat Koh-i-Noor discovered in India.
The Exeter Salt, crafted in 1630 and set with over 70 gemstones including emeralds, rubies, amethysts, sapphires and turquoises will go on display
The Queen Consorts ring set with a large ruby (left) and the Sovereign's Sceptre containing the largest flawless cut diamond in the world (right)
The entire display features a large
variety of crowns, sceptres, orbs, swords, and rings, many of which are
still used today by the Queen in national ceremonies including the
annual State Opening of Parliament.
Marking the Diamond Jubilee the exhibition presents items in the order that they were used in the coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey, with information detailing how they were used and the symbolism of each object.
Michael Day, Chief Executive of Historic Royal Palaces, said: 'The Crown Jewels, renowned for their beauty and historical significance, capture the imagination of visitors worldwide.
'With all eyes on London in 2012 for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games, this display will enable us to showcase Britain’s most prized treasures in all their glory.'
The new display formally opens to visitors on Thursday but can in fact be viewed a little later than usual on Wednesday. And for the first time visually-impaired visitors will be able to ‘see’ the Crown Jewels thanks to new 3D models.
For more than six hundred years kings and queens of England have stored valuable items at the Tower of London, located on the north bank of the River Thames
Queen Victoria's small diamond crown was created at the request of Queen Victoria in 1870
The Crown Jewels Exhibition from March 29. Telephone booking: 0844 482 7799 General Information: 0844 482 7777 www.hrp.org.uk
THE 125,000 GOLD KILO COIN
A 24k gold coin encrusted with over 100 diamonds has been created to mark the Diamond Jubilee.
Valued at 125,000 the Gold Kilo Coin is a product of the East East India Company, which was first granted a Royal Charter by Queen Elizabeth I in 1600.
The10cm coin fits into the palm of the hand and is made from pure gold, containing no trace of any other metal. Each one represents over 1,000 hours of craftsmanship.
It features a portrait of the current queen, with her tiara, necklace and brooch highlighted with 2 carat diamonds.
The 24k Gold Kilo coin is encrusted with over 100 diamonds and contains no traces of any other metals
This year more than three hundred years after it was first given the right to mint its own currency by Charles II in 1677, the company has once again started issuing legal tender coins.
Only 120 limited edition coins have been struck by the Royal Mint – 60 in gold and 60 in silver – and are available at to buy at The East India Company's flagship store in Mayfair, London or online.
Commenting on the launch Sanjiv Mehta, chairman of The East India Company, said: 'The company has been known in the precious metal trade since 1800.
'It was and still is the only corporate in history to mint its own trading currency. It made sense to commission our own silver and gold coins in this day and age.'