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    Apr 18

    The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebration is quickly becoming the lodestone for people to learn a little more about the history of royalty of the region. Owing to the extensive celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s 60th year as the Queen of the United Kingdom, people have been paying more attention to the history of the country. There is no better place to view the history of the country and royalty than the exhibition of the crown jewels which kicked off recently in London. The exhibition of crown jewels consists of everything ranging from premiere jewelry and scepters to diamonds that can singlehandedly take your breath away.

    Imperial State Crown of Great Britain. Tower o...

    (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    With all the sparkle and glitter that will be visible at the exhibition, the real attraction will be the way in which the exhibition is being staged. The prime focus of the exhibition is not to display the beauty of the gems and jewelry but instead to show their significance to the history of the country. In effect, the exhibition focuses more on the symbolism behind the Koh – I – Noor diamond than on its inherent grace and beauty. The exhibition is being sponsored by the global diamond mining giant De Beers.

    As you walk into the exhibition room, the first thing that will jump out at you would be that the room has been darkened and the lighting placed in strategic locations to get the best out of all the jewels on display there. The crown jewels, themselves, are accompanied by music and film footage which is designed to bring to life the history behind these jewels.

    In fact, according to the curator of the exhibition, it was their intention to display the jewels in their historical context all along. The curator, Sally Daxon –Smith even stated that the crown jewels have been displayed in a way that is truly fit for the 21st century. Even in terms of the historical context that the crown jewels are displayed in, the attention is focused on the coronation ceremony. As an effect of this focus, all the jewels have been arranged and ordered to reflect the coronary ceremonies that have taken place in the past. The last coronation ceremony was held in 1953, when the current Queen was crowned at Westminster Abbey.

    The majority of the crown jewels date back to the investiture of King Charles II in 1660. While the coronation of kings has been done since 1066, the jewels between the period of 1066 and 1660 were destroyed by Oliver Cromwell and other anti monarchists. King Charles II’s preceding monarch, King Charles I was also executed by the anti monarchists.

    However, the exhibition does boast of one piece from medieval times. This was a coronation spoon which dates back to the 12th century. The silver gilt coronation spoon is used to pour holy oil on the monarch during the coronation ceremony. Even though this would be the oldest piece on display at the exhibition, the highlight would be the crowns. The crowns have been arranged on a conveyor style belt that allows the crowns to move. This system has been established in order to prevent long queues.

    The Koh – I – Noor diamond, as is obvious, has also received a lot of attention by the people during the Queen’s diamond jubilee. It is placed on the crown of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother’s crown. The diamond can be traced back to the Mogul emperor of India, Babur in the 16th century. The diamond was brought to England in the middle of the 19th century and recut. This recutting resulted in the diamond going down from 186.10 carats to only 105.6 carats.

    However, despite the huge proportions of the Koh – I – Noor, it is still nothing compared to the Great Star of Africa or Cullinan I. The Great Star of Africa is the largest high quality diamond in the world as it weighs an unbelievable 530.2 carats. Cullinan I is currently set in the Sovereign’s Scepter where it was placed in 1910.

    Even though the Koh – I – Noor and the Great Star of Africa are attractions in themselves, the most popular piece on display at the exhibition is the Imperial State Crown. The Imperial State Crown has been the most visible crown in the public since 1937 when it was created for the coronation ceremony of George VI. The Imperial State Crown boasts of 2, 868 diamonds along with a sapphire that is known to be from the ring of Edward the Confessor.

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