The Crown Jewels of the #UnitedKingdom, originally the #CrownJewels of #England, are 140 #royal ceremonial objects kept in the Tower of #London, which include the regalia and vestments worn by #British #kings and #queens at their coronations.
Objects used to invest and crown the monarch variously denote his or her roles as #HeadofState, Supreme Governor of the #ChurchofEngland, and Commander-in-Chief of the #BritishArmedForces.
Most of the present collection as a whole dates from around 350 years ago when King Charles II ascended the throne. The #medieval and #Tudor #regalia had been either sold or melted down after the monarchy was abolished in 1649, during the English Civil War. Only four original items pre-date the Restoration: a late 12th-century anointing spoon, which is the oldest object in the collection, and three early 17th-century swords.
Notable among the 23,578 precious and semi-precious stones are Cullinan I, the largest clear cut diamond in the world at 530 carats (106 g), set in the Sovereign's Sceptre with Cross. It was cut from the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever found, the #CullinanDiamond, discovered in #SouthAfrica in 1905 and presented to Edward VII. On the Imperial State Crown are #CullinanII (second-largest of the Cullinan diamonds), the Stuart #Sapphire, St Edward's #Sapphire, and the Black Prince's #Ruby – a large spinel given to Edward the Black #Prince by a #Spanish king in 1367. The Koh-i-Noor #diamond has featured on three consort crowns.
At a #coronation, the #monarch is anointed using holy oil poured from an #ampulla into the spoon, followed by investiture with robes and ornaments, and finally he or she is crowned with St Edward's #Crown. Afterwards, it is exchanged for the lighter #Imperial State Crown, which is also usually worn at State Openings of #Parliament. Wives of kings are crowned as queen #consort with a plainer set of regalia. Since 1831, a new crown has been made specially for each queen #consort. When not in use, the Jewels are on public display, mainly in the Jewel House at the #TowerofLondon, where they are seen by around 2.5 million visitors every year.