Monday, 23 February 2015

Day 54: The Queen's second best hat!

After my elicit failed attempts at capturing (only photographically mind you) some of the royal bling yesterday, I have to laugh when I see a poster at Waterloo advertising the crown jewels with a picture of the Imperial State Crown we were peering at yesterday. The Queen wears it at each State Opening of Parliament. The crown has existed in various iterations since the 15th century. This crown itself was only made in 1937 as the previous crown holding these precious gems started suffering under the weight of all that fabulousness. And this is a serious piece of fabulousness, the vital statistics shape up to a mere 2,868 diamonds, 273 pearls, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, and 5 rubies. There's a few eminent jewels, the cross at the top is set with St. Edward's Sapphire and another of the sapphires belongs to Edward the Confessor. The stunner of a ruby at the front was the Black Prince's (and is actually a spinel). The Second Star of Africa, (or Cullinan II) is sparkling like crazy at the front of the band above the ermine, comes from the infamous Cullinan diamond. This humdinger of a diamond was discovered in 1905 at Premier Mine, near Pretoria in South Africa, and is named after Thomas Cullinan, the chairman of the mining company itself. It was a whopping just over 3106 metric carats and measuring over 10cm in length. After eight months of painstaking cutting, grinding and polishing by three craftsmen the result was nine principal numbered stones, 96 small brilliants and nine carats of unpolished fragments. The largest is Cullinan I, or the Great Star of Africa, and weighs in at 530.4 carats, which is mounted in Sceptre with the Cross, also part of the Crown Jewels. The Second Star of Africa, at a lesser 317.4 carats, sparkles here.

L(a) told us that the Queen refers to the crown as her second best hat! I wouldn't mind seeing her first best hat.

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