Many countries have crown jewels, that is, valuable gems, swords, pearls, orbs, crowns, and jewelry belonging to their monarchy. Iran is believed to have the world’s largest collection after many centuries of Persian royalty. Russia is thought to have the most elaborate crowns ever crafted. However, when it comes to famous jewels, I think most people think of “the crown jewels,” that being those in the Tower of London.
When I was watching the Olympics recently there was a segment on NBC about the Tower. The oldest security tradition in the world is the evening daily regime of the Yeoman at the Tower of London taking the “keys” to lock up the doors and gates of the famous castle. Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress is almost 1000 years old, and has housed the monarch’s jewelry since the early 14th century.
The Tower has so much history attached to the historic castle, as well as the jewels to make for a compelling story. William the Conqueror initiated construction in the 11th century. Famous kings such as Richard the Lionheart expanded the building. Over two million people visit the site annually. The Tower is an absolute treasure to the British people. I think it is a treasure to all of mankind.
When one speaks of treasure I suppose there are a number of images that can come to mind: pirates, gold mines, treasure chests, diamond necklaces. A king’s gold crown with lots of diamonds would capture the imagination of most of us. King Solomon and King David in the Old Testament probably had a cool crowns. I often think of the Kings of England as having showy and pricey crowns. However, it is the crowns of Imperial Russia, the Czar’s crowns, as probably being the most elaborate. The Great Imperial Crown above was made for the coronation of Catherine II in 1762. The red gem at the the top weighs almost 400 carats. The rest of the crown has over 5,000 diamonds.
The Imperial Orb was also made for Emperess Catherine II. The blue sapphire weighs 47 carats. The crowns made for the Czar’s dynasty were quite obviously some the best crafted the world has ever known. The chances of ever finding a lost crown of one of the Czar’s is only fantasy. I included the Czar’s crown as one of the treasures to be captured while playing the game Treasure Trove because the idea of ever finding a lost crown would indeed be something.
Below is part of the game board for Treasure Trove where I placed Czar’s Crown