Crown Jewels: The Royal Family’s Collection Of Quintessential Gems And TiarasBy Larissa C
The British monarchy has been around since time immemorial, and during that time they’ve amassed an impressive fortune over the centuries. Though this fortune is not just actual money in a bank account, but rather properties worldwide and lots of jewelry.
By now, all the jewels and crowns and tiaras — originals and replacements — and everything else amounts to billions of dollars. That’s not surprising, considering that the royal family has been collecting the “Crown Jewels” for over a thousand years.
You’ve probably even seen some of these jewels at one point; the royal family usually wears these jewels at important events, such as weddings, coronations, and even funerals. It’s hard to tell the value of such items when being worn by royalty, but there is a quantitative value for every one of them. Without further ado, here are some of the most valuable Crown Jewels.
The Coronation Crown
Back in the early days of the monarch, kings and queens were crowned with different pieces of jewelry. But then King Charles (the second) came around and his set of jewelry became the official royal “regalia.” And the most important piece is the crown, obviously.
While the royal family gets to wear some amazing jewels and tiaras, the “Crown Jewels” are the pieces that a new monarch puts on during the coronation ceremony. Apparently, this crown is so heavy that the monarch can’t even look down or else they’ll destroy a piece that’s worth almost four million dollars.
The After-Coronation Crown
While the coronation crown is literally only worn during the coronation, the monarch usually wears the “Imperial State Crown.” We also call it the “after-Coronation crown,” because the Queen wore it from the minute she was coronated and removed the ceremony crown.
This crown alone would cover our credit card bill expenses for the next millennia or so. In case you’re wondering, this piece is way more valuable than the other crown, and that’s because it has one of the most expensive diamonds in the world. This crown is worth almost 3 billion dollars!
The Coronation Scepter
The last time the world saw a coronation ceremony was when the late Queen Elizabeth II was still a young woman. We should expect another one soon when King Charles III gets to have this important moment. And when he does, you’ll see this scepter.
This piece is also part of the Crown Jewels, and it was originally created in the 1600s, and every single coronation ceremony utilized this item. That huge diamond is what draws most people’s attention. And rightfully so; it’s only the largest cut diamond on the planet. Imagine wearing that beast in your engagement ring!
The Coronation Ring
Queen Victoria was such a success that there’s literally a whole era named after her. Every new monarch gets to wear an amazing ring during the coronation ceremony, and Queen Victoria’s slayed, as expected. But there was a problem with it.
The people who made it forgot that the Queen was supposed to wear it on her ring finger and made a ring for her little finger instead. Like, what?! The poor woman still had to wear the tiny thing on her ring finger and even wrote about how painful it was to get it off afterward.
The Coronation Orb
So far, we’ve seen wearable pieces of the Crown Jewels, but that’s not true for all of them. After all, we can’t talk about the royal bling without mentioning the Sovereign’s Orb. The monarch only gets their hands on this thing (literally) during the coronation ceremony and then it is put away again.
This orb symbolizes the power that is bestowed upon the monarch and it also represents the monarchy’s ties to Christianity. The orb is one of the “cheapest” Crown Jewels, and it’s worth less than $300,000. By the way, Queen Mary II was so iconic she requested that an orb be made specifically for her!
The World’s Most Expensive Spoon
It’s pretty crazy to think that our world dates to millions of years ago, and it’s also nuts to think that some items crafted by humans almost a thousand years ago still exist. One such item is the “coronation spoon,” which was created in the 12th century.
Even when the original Crown Jewels were destroyed, this spoon survived. If you’re wondering why the monarch needs a spoon, it’s not to eat cereal during the ceremony. They pour some kind of sacred oil into the spoon. This object is so old that it’s literally priceless.
The Coronation Armills
The armills are another item that is worn by the new monarch whenever there’s a coronation ceremony. Before Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, the monarch wore the original armills from 1661. The legendary queen got to have her own armills, as she should.
The armills are placed by an Archbishop and they mean something along the lines of honesty and knowledge. While we have no idea how much it cost to make these gold armills or how much they’d be worth today, we just know that they’re expensive AF!
Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’s Diamond
If you know anything about royalty, you know that they love some bling. Diamonds are a Queen’s best friend, and Queen Elizabeth (the mother) made sure people knew that. When she was crowned Queen Consort, she got to have her own customized crown.
While the crown itself doesn’t look revolutionary, it’s that shiny diamond that put this crown in the history books. That’s the “Koh-i-Noor” diamond, and it only weighs about 21 grams (105 carats), but it’s worth more than half a million dollars!
The Cullinan Diamond
Back when this diamond was discovered, it weighed more than half a kilo, which is a lot for a diamond. The people who found this rock had nothing to do with the royal family; the people who bought it gave the rock to the Crown as a gift.
Seriously? This is the kind of gift we’d like to get from our friends! The massive rock was cut into a bunch of smaller diamonds, and the two largest ones are now part of the Crown Jewels. The diamonds will never be put for sale, but if they were, they’d be worth over $400 million.
The Most Famous “Ruby” In The World
Remember how we said that the “after-Coronation” crown is more valuable than the Coronation crown itself? That’s because the Imperial State Crown is adorned with some of the most precious rocks in the world, and that includes the “Black Prince’s Ruby.”
The current crown was created for Queen Elizabeth II’s father back in the 1930s, but the spinel (the ruby) has belonged to the Crown since the 1300s. This gem is famous because it has a long history and is not even a real ruby. At some point, it was worth less than five dollars!
Princess Di’s Engagement Ring
While the “official” Crown Jewels are really relevant to the monarchy, they’re not as notable to the public as the pieces of jewelry that are actually worn by the royal family. After all, we barely get to see those Crown Jewels, right?
One of the most iconic pieces of jewelry that belongs to the royal family has got to be this engagement ring. It belonged to Lady Di, but after her untimely death, her eldest son inherited it. Now it rests on Kate Middleton’s ring finger and is worth about $400,000.
The Most Well-Known Tiara
As you probably know by now, some royal jewels are usually associated with just one person, even if other royals wear them as well. The engagement ring we just showed you? It may belong to Kate now, but it’ll forever be called Diana’s ring.
Her headpiece, known as the Lover’s Knot tiara, is worth something like $2 million and is one of the exceptions. It was commissioned by Queen Mary and it even carries her name, but it became famous after being worn by other ladies. Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Diana, and Princess Kate have worn it, too.
The Diamond Bar Choker
This is an interesting piece of royal jewelry. Queen Mary clearly loved her some bling, because she also commissioned this piece. The monarch originally wore the piece as a choker, but she was the only one who did it. To this day, it’s unknown how much they paid for this piece.
After Queen Mary passed away, Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) inherited the piece. She wore it for a photoshoot over two decades after Queen Mary’s passing. Instead of wearing it as a choker, she wore it as a bracelet. Then, it was Kate Middleton’s turn to wear the choker-turned-bracelet in the 2010s.
If you get to wear this next brooch, it means that you’re a highly important woman. Sorry, everyone else. Only queens get to wear this one. The famous sapphire brooch originally belonged to Queen Victoria. It was a gift from her fiancé, Prince Albert — hence its official name.
This brooch is famous because Queen Elizabeth II wore it on multiple occasions. Every queen and queen consort has worn this brooch at one point or another, and now it’s Camilla Parker-Bowles’ turn to wear the blue rock adorned with beautiful diamonds. While they’ll never sell this one, it’d be worth something like $10 million.
The Lotus Tiara
This piece was created for the Queen Mother and was a gift from her husband. Before it was a tiara, this piece of jewelry was actually a necklace, but the queen had it dismantled. She asked the crown jeweler to use the diamonds and turn the whole thing into a tiara.
The Queen Mother wore the tiara across her forehead, but Princess Margaret, who inherited the piece, wore it on top of her head. After the Princess passed away, the public assumed that her heirs had sold it, but Kate Middleton wore the 4-million-dollars tiara in 2013.
The Iconic Pearl Choker
Honestly, this particular piece may be among the most popular royal jewels. You’ve probably seen an important royal woman wearing it (it has been worn only by three of these important women) during events. This beautiful choker was a gift from the Japanese emperor in the 1970s.
Throughout the years, Queen Elizabeth II loaned her 6-million-dollar necklace to Princess Diana (even before the Queen herself had a chance to wear it) and to Kate Middleton. More recently, the Princess of Wales wore the iconic pearl choker during Prince Philip’s and Queen Elizabeth II’s funerals.
The Cartier Tiara
Honestly, who doesn’t love Kate Middleton? The woman is the walking definition of charisma and elegance! Back when she got married to Prince William, Kate wore a beautiful tiara, the Halo Tiara, that is now known worldwide, and is worth around $1.5 million.
While Catherine was not the first one to wear the tiara, she was the one who made it famous. Much like a bunch of other jewelry she’s worn, this piece hadn’t been seen by the public in years. But then she wore the tiara and it became popular once more!
The Horseshoe Brooch
While this particular piece is not necessarily one of the most iconic, it holds a great deal of sentimental value. If you watched The Crown, you know just how much the late Queen Elizabeth II loved horses and horse riding.
While the world will miss Her Royal Highness, the Queen’s grandchildren will miss their Grannie. And Princess Charlotte knew how much her Grannie loved horses, so she wore this delicate horseshoe brooch to the funeral. The brooch was a gift from the late monarch and is Charlotte’s first brooch.
The Wedding Necklace
Back when Alexandra of Denmark became queen consort, she caught the public’s attention because of her choice to wear multiple pieces of jewelry during her coronation. If you look up one of her images, you’ll understand why everyone noticed her at the time!
The Queen Mother ended up inheriting this necklace, and she wore it on multiple occasions. The last time she wore it was in 1993, and nobody saw the necklace after that. But guess who wore it in public for the first time in decades? Yup, it was Kate Middleton!
The Leaf Brooch
When a member of the royal family is coronated king or queen, they become the “ruler” of not only the United Kingdom but also other countries. Canada is one of those countries. Back when the Queen Mother and King George VI were still ruling, the queen wore this beautiful brooch during a visit to Canada.
The Queen Mother loved this brooch so much that she wore it for a very long time; she got it when she was 39 and wore it until she was 100 years old! Queen Elizabeth II inherited the brooch, but Kate Middleton and Queen Camilla borrowed it on a few occasions.
Elizabeth’s Wedding Bandeau
As you probably noticed by now, royal members inherit the jewelry that belongs to other members of the family. Some stuff is sold or auctioned, but whatever goes into the royal vaults stays with the family forever. And even those who are close to the family bequeath their valuables to the royals!
One such example was Margaret Greville, who was a friend of the Queen Mother and left some of her jewels to the queen. Queen Elizabeth II got this beautiful necklace as a wedding gift from her parents, and she wore it all the time when she was young.
The Dagmar Necklace
If we are to talk about extravagant jewelry, we have to mention the Dagmar Necklace. This piece was a gift to the then-princess Alexandra before she became queen. The necklace is famous because it has a Dagmar cross (honoring Queen Dagmar of Denmark).
At the time, the necklace cost about eight thousand dollars, but it has over two thousand diamonds and almost 120 pearls, which is why we can easily assume that it’s worth a couple of million dollars these days. The necklace is really heavy, so Queen Elizabeth II didn’t wear it often.
The Necklace That Pairs With The Brooch
Do you remember that sapphire brooch that every queen and queen consort gets to wear? Well, Queen Elizabeth II loved it so much that she even had a pair of earrings and a necklace made to pair with the brooch. Well, who wouldn’t love a necklace that’s worth over $3 million dollars?!
She had the matching sapphire set made specifically for her Golden Jubilee back in the early 2000s, and she even wore a blue gown to go with the jewelry. Before that, the late queen also had commissioned matching bracelets and rings!
The 1-Year Necklace
Back when Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne, she received gifts from presidents and emperors from all over the globe. Some of these gifts included extremely valuable jewelry, and one of these pieces was commissioned by the Brazilian government.
Aquamarine rocks are not as common in their collection, which is why this necklace is so iconic. It took a year for miners to gather all these rare rocks from all over the extensive country. In addition to the necklace, the queen also got matching earrings, a bracelet, and a brooch.
The Cartier Necklace Anyone Could Have
This next necklace is considered the late queen’s most valuable piece of jewelry. That’s because it is worth around $73 million dollars. What’s interesting is that this necklace wasn’t commissioned — it was a catalog piece and anyone (with $73 million dollars to spare) could buy one.
This astonishing necklace is made of diamonds cut in different ways, and they’re all set in platinum. Other than the Queen, only one person wore it, and it was Kate Middleton. When the Princess of Wales wore this one, everyone knew for sure that the queen loved her!
The 26-Stone Necklace
Queen Victoria loved her bling, but she also was interested in repurposing her less-favorite jewels. Instead of keeping her jewelry stored away, the Queen usually had Garrard (the official royal jeweler) use some stones she didn’t wear as often to create this piece.
If you ever get to touch this necklace, count the stones. There are 25 gems in the actual necklace and a large diamond in the pendant. While this necklace is probably worth millions, it is usually worn at casual events because it is not as extravagant as some other pieces.
The Chandelier Earrings
Kate Middleton has been an official member of the royal for only a decade, yet she’s already worn some of the most memorable jewelry from the royal vault. And we’re not just talking about the pieces that Queen Elizabeth II loaned to her.
Kate also has commissioned some pieces that became famous, though this particular pair of earrings is not one of them. Actually, these earrings were in the royal vault, but no one had worn them in public until Kate did. The earrings are pretty heavy, and their worth is unknown.
Princess Margaret’s Fave Tiara
Have you ever watched The Crown? If the answer is yes, you know just how misunderstood Princess Margaret was. But she’s also an iconic real-life character and the public adored her. We mean, just take a look at the picture of hers in a bathtub and you’ll see that she was not like other royals.
Well, the tiara she wore was the Poltimore, and it was the princess’ most beloved piece of jewelry. She wore it to her wedding and to some state visits. Princess Margaret chose and bought the tiara herself for around $6,000, and it was auctioned for almost $1.2 million!
The Spencer Tiara
Princess Diana was not called the “People’s Princess” for no reason. The woman had (and still has) the public under her spell, and everything she did or wore became the talk of the town. She was a fashion icon, and this tiara is one of her most iconic pieces.
While the Queen loaned some pieces to Diana, the late princess’ favorite tiara was the Spencer Tiara, which had been in her family for generations. It was lighter than the Lover’s Knot (which we already showed you) and, honestly, it looked like it was made just for Diana!
The Silver Jubilee Earrings
If you know anything about the late queen’s fashion style, you know that she loved wearing pearl earrings. She had a bunch of them; in different styles, too. But one of her most famous pieces is the Silver Jubilee Pearl Earrings.
The Queen wore this pair during her Silver Jubilee in the 1970s, and they are made of pearls and diamonds. The piece is not as extravagant as others and has been loaned to different ladies in the family, most notably Kate Middleton (she also wore them during the queen’s funeral events).
The Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara
Remember the Lady Greville that, upon her death, gave her jewelry to the Queen Mother? Well, some of those pieces were never seen in public, even though Queen Elizabeth decided to keep them instead of storing them away. That’s just how she was.
Well, this particular tiara was literally never seen in public until 2018, when Princess Eugenie wore it at her wedding. This moment was iconic because nobody had ever seen pictures of the tiara. Up until that point, everyone outside the royal family had only read about it!
The Aquamarine Tiara
We already talked about the aquamarine necklace that Queen Elizabeth II got from the Brazilian president at the time of her ascension to the throne. Well, the necklace was amazing, but the Queen decided it was a little too much.
She asked the royal jeweler to remove one of the aquamarine rocks from the necklace and use it to make her a tiara. Well, the result is this amazing piece that pairs with the unique aquamarine earrings, bracelet, and necklace.
Elizabeth’s Wedding Fringe Tiara
It’s a royal tradition for the ladies of the family to wear regal jewelry during their public appearances. They are always spotted wearing earrings, necklaces, and bracelets, but they don’t always wear tiaras. Whenever the late Queen Elizabeth II wore a tiara, it was an occasion to remember.
The queen only wore this particular tiara on a handful of occasions, one of which was her wedding day, when she put wore the Queen Mary Fringe Tiara for the first time. This tiara kind of looks like other fringe tiaras that belong to the family, but it was actually commissioned by the queen’s grandmother.
The 39-Carat Diamond Tiara
This iconic tiara doesn’t belong to the British royal family. It is actually under the ownership of the royal family of the Netherlands. It has an English-sounding name (“The Stuart Tiara”) and is particularly known for the 39-carat central diamond.
This piece is really old and once belonged to King William and Queen Mary in the 1600s. It’s unknown how much it cost at the time, and it’s one of the pieces that won’t ever be put for sale. If it were, it’d be worth millions of dollars due to its historical significance.
The “Buttons” Tiara
This next tiara is quite intriguing. It belongs to the Swedish royal family, and it’s the kind of tiara that you either love or hate. It has a peculiar design and doesn’t look as extravagant as other tiaras, but it holds great meaning to the family.
While the diamond buttons (or rosettes) have been in the Swedish royal family for centuries, they were only turned into a tiara in recent years (around 1976). This tiara sits high on the lady royal’s head and clearly makes her stand out even more.