Britain’s collection of Crown Jewels is world-renowned for having some of the most spectacular gemstones ever discovered, among them a number of notable diamonds. They boast some of the largest and rarest diamonds in the world, and the sheer magnitude of the collection, which is worn or used by the royal family during coronations and other ceremonies of state, is enough to catch anyone’s eye (and no doubt blind them). Here are a few of their finest examples.
1. The First Star of Africa. This is the largest, flawless cut diamond in the world, at a weight of 530 carats, and it currently resides atop of the Sovereign’s Sceptre (with Cross).
2. The Second Star of Africa. Along with the First Star of Africa, this 317 carat beauty was cut from the fabled Cullinan Diamond presented to King Edward VII by the government of Transvaal (it reportedly weighed an astounding 3,000 carats before it was cut). This stone can be found in the Imperial State Crown.
3. The Koh-i-Noor. Commonly known as the “Mountain of Light”, this famous diamond is set into the Maltese Cross at the front of Queen Elizabeth’s crown (circa 1937). It is thought to carry a curse (much like the Hope Diamond) that renders men unable to wear it without the risk of serious misfortune, and so it has been reserved for use by the queen or queen consort. It weighs in at just over 105 carats.
4. The Imperial Crown of India. This crown, designed for King George V to wear at his Delhi coronation, is adorned by not one diamond, but many…about 6,000 to be precise (accented with a stunning array of diamonds and rubies). It was only worn once.
5. The Queen Victoria Crown. Dubbed the “Small Diamond Crown of Queen Victoria”, this petite example of millinery mastery was created because the queen grew tired of wearing the heavy and uncomfortable Imperial State Crown. While smaller and lighter than other crowns, it still manages to house 1, 187 diamonds (which she chose because they were considered permissible to wear while in mourning, unlike colored stones).