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Diamonds and pearls (and a giant punch bowl)

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
Fiona Hicks has not set their biography yet
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on Wednesday, 11 April 2012

There is a LOT of bling in the Jewel House at the Tower of London. A lot.

On Queen Victoria’s small crown there are 1,000 diamonds. The Crown of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother has 2,800 diamonds. Oh and the Imperial State Crown (pictured)? That’s got 2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, five rubies and 273 pearls.

I was invited to get a sneak peek at the new display of the Crown Jewels before it was unveiled to the public today. Wandering around the Tower before it opened, without the hordes of people bustling along with you, is a surprisingly eerie experience. (I gave the Bloody Tower a pretty wide berth.)

Obviously as the jewels are the real thing (they’re absolutely not copies stresses Keith Hanson, the Tower’s Chief Exhibitor) they’re kept behind glass. (And locked doors of a night that weight two tonnes. Naturally.)

Wondering if people ever got their hands on them (apart from Queens and Kings of course) I asked how often they got polished.

They don’t I was informed. The only time they are out of their glass boxes is when the Crown Jeweller is present and they are being taken out to be used. (There goes my chance of trying a crown on for size then...)

More than 2.5million people are expected to come to The Tower to see the Crown Jewels this year. The new display complete with a viewing platform, improved lighting, evocative graphics, music and newly-restored film footage is well worth a visit. If only to see the Great Punch Bowl. It can hold 144 bottles of wine. Personally I think that’s definitely a part of the working collection that should be put to work this Jubilee year...

Words by Katy Pearson

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