Crown jewels have always been a symbol of power and luxury, representing the wealth and prestige of the ruling monarchs.
From sparkling diamonds to precious gemstones, these jewels have adorned the heads of kings and queens for centuries, and many of them have a fascinating history behind them.
However, some crown jewels are worth more than others, and their value can run into the millions or even billions of dollars.
In this article, we will explore the top 10 most expensive crown jewels in the world, delving into their history, significance, and the incredible stories that surround them.
10. The Sovereign’s Orb
Price Tag – $200,000
The Sovereign’s Orb is one of the most iconic and valuable pieces of the British Crown Jewels, with a value estimated to be around $200,000. It was created for the coronation of Charles II in 1661 by the royal goldsmith Robert Viner and has been used in every coronation ceremony since then.
The orb is made of gold and is encrusted with sapphires, rubies, emeralds, and pearls. It is surmounted by a cross and has a large amethyst set on the top. Therefore, this orb is a valuable piece of history in all aspects.
Fact: The orb represents Christian sovereignty over the world.
9. Elizabeth Taylor’s Art Deco Egyptian Revival Bracelet
Price Tag – $818,500
Elizabeth Taylor was known for her love of jewelry, and one of her most prized possessions was an Art Deco Egyptian Revival bracelet that sold for a whopping $818,500 at an auction in 2011. The bracelet was crafted by the renowned jeweler Cartier in the 1920s and was part of Taylor’s collection until she died in 2011.
The design of this bracelet is astonishing and is adorned with diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and emeralds. It has six pierced pavé-set diamond plaques. Three of them represent a buff-top calibré-cut ruby, emerald, and sapphire falcon, whereas the other three portray an ox, a seated figure, and a sphinx.
Hence, with its intricate designs and adornment of valuable gems, it is given to be one of the most expensive crown jewels.
Fact: It is said that this was part of a crown jewel of Egypt and was owned by King Farouk, one of the royal rulers of Egypt.
8. Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara
Price – $14 million
The Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara is one of the most stunning and valuable pieces of jewelry in the world, with an estimated value of $14 million. The tiara was created by the jeweler Boucheron in 1919 for Margaret Greville.
The tiara is made of platinum encrusted with diamonds and there are 6 emeralds on either side. The center of this tiara has a large emerald which is about 4 carats. The design is inspired by the traditional Russian kokoshnik headdress.
This tiara was left for Queen Elizabeth or the Queen Mother in 1942 by Margaret Greville. Currently, the tiara is a part of the set of the crown jewels of the British Monarchy known simply as the “Crown”.
Fact: There were rumours that the tiara was lost as it had no appearance for several years. But the tiara was worn by Princess Eugenie at her wedding to Jack Brooksbank in 2018 and therefore the rumours were swept off.
7. Imperial Crown of Austria
Price – $16 million
The Imperial Crown of Austria is a magnificent piece of jewelry that represents the power and grandeur of the Austrian Empire. This crown was created in 1602 for Emperor Rudolf II. The crown is made of pure gold and adorned with sapphires, pearls, emeralds, rubies, and diamonds. Its intricate design and valuable gemstones make it a priceless treasure, with a value of $16 million.
This crown was made by Jan Vermeyen, a renowned goldsmith of the time. This crown is made of three parts: the circlet, the high arch, and the mitre. The Imperial Crown of Austria has been preserved in the Imperial Treasury in Vienna, Austria.
The Imperial Crown of Austria is a stunning piece of history that represents the power and glory of the Austrian Empire.
Fact: The crown was not specifically for the Austrian Empire. Emperor Rudolf II was the king of the Holy Roman Empire, and it was from 1804 that it was used for the Austrian Empire.
6. Wittelsbach Blue
Price – $24.3 million
The Wittelsbach Blue is a breathtaking diamond that has captured the attention of the world with its stunning beauty and rich history. The Wittelsbach Blue has a deep blue color that is mesmerizing to behold. It weighs 35.56 carats and is considered to be one of the largest and finest blue diamonds in existence.
The Wittelsbach diamond was once a part of the Crown of Bavaria until the House of Wittelsbach took the decision of auctioning it off during the 1950s. Although it was only in 2008 that someone bid $24.3 million for it and it was deemed sold.
The diamond has an immaculate appearance and the history it holds is what gives it its high value. Although, the owner has cut the diamond to add more faceted faces to it and renaming it to Wittelsbach-Graff. Therefore, this has caused it to lose some of its historical significance.
Fact: The diamond is said to have originated from the famous Kollur mines of India and was later acquired by King Felipe IV of Castille in the 17th century.
5. St. Edward’s Crown
Price- $39 million
St. Edward’s Crown is one of the most important and recognizable symbols of the British monarchy. The crown is named after St Edward the Confessor and the current crown is the new version of original St Edward’s Crown. The original crown was lost or sold or melted during the English Civil War in 1649.
The crown was originally made in 1661 for King Charles II and then it was not used for over 200 years. It emerged again in the coronation of George V in 1911.
This magnificent crown is made of solid gold, and 444 precious stones. It stands 30 cm in height and is about 5 pounds in weight. The gold is of 22 carats and there are 345 rose-cut aquamarines, 37 white topazes, 27 tourmalines, 12 rubies, 7 amethysts, 6 sapphires, 2 jargoons, 1 garnet, 1 spinel and 1 carbuncle. With all these astonishing things the St. Edward’s Crown stands at the value of $39 million.
Fact: St. Edward’s Crown is only worn for a short time during the coronation ceremony and kept aside on a cushion. This is because the crown is quite heavy and uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time.
4. Imperial State Crown
Price – $354 million
Here comes another one of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom in this list. The Imperial State Crown is one of the most iconic and valuable crowns in the world. It is the official crown worn by the monarch during the State Opening of Parliament in the United Kingdom.
King William III wore this crown in Parliament to pass the Crown and Parliament Recognition Act 1689.
The Imperial State Crown is adorned with 2,868 diamonds, 273 pearls, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, and 5 rubies. The crown with all its contents weighs about 2.3 lbs. The crown is kept safely at Jewel House at the Tower of London.
Fact: This crown is featured in the portraits of several coronations. One famous one is the coronation portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.
3. Sovereign’s Sceptre
Price – $525 million
The Sovereign’s Sceptre is one of the most important symbols of the British monarchy. It is a ceremonial staff made of gold and is topped with the largest cut diamond in the world, the Cullinan I diamond, also known as the Great Star of Africa.
The Sovereign’s Sceptre is a part of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom and is used in the coronation ceremony of British monarchs.
The Sovereign’s Sceptre was made in 1661 for the coronation of King Charles II and has been used in every coronation ceremony since. The Cullinan I diamond was added later in the sceptre around the 20th century. Overall, the Sovereign’s Sceptre is a magnificent piece of British history and a symbol of the monarchy’s grandeur and prestige.
Fact: The Cullinan Diamond weighs 530.2 carats and is named after the chairman of the mine it was found in Sir Thomas Cullinan.
2. Sword of Offering
Price – $660 million
The Sword of Offering is an important piece of history in Great Britain. This sword has been a part of the British Crown for ages. There are other swords as well but the Sword Of Offering is used in coronation ceremonies.
The sword was first used in the coronation of King George IV and since then the sword has made an appearance in every coronation ceremony.
The sword is made of gold and silver. Accompanying gold and silver is the precious stones like diamonds, emeralds, and rubies. Also, this is the only sword that is held by the monarch during the coronation ceremony.
Fact: King George IV was the one who chose the design of this sword and he paid £5,988 back then.
1. St. Wenceslas Crown
Price – Invaluable
One of the crown jewels of the Bohemia stands atop the list and is deemed to be priceless. The St Wenceslas Crown which is made up of 22 carat gold along with 91 precious stones such as emeralds, sapphires, and 20 pearls. This crown is safely kept within the St. Wenceslas Chapel in Prague. The crown is not kept for public viewing and only a replica of it is made for public viewing.
This crown was first made for the coronation of Charles IV in 1346 and it was dedicated to St. Wenceslas. Then the tradition of using the crown in every coronation started. But the last coronation with this crown took place in 1836 in the coronation of Ferdinand V.
The St. Wenceslas Crown is considered to be priceless due to its historical and cultural significance to Bohemia. It is one of the most important symbols of the Bohemia and is viewed as a national treasure.
Fact: According to an ancient Czech mythology, the crown is St. Wenceslas’ personal property and can only be worn by a legitimate Bohemian king during his coronation, hence any usurper who wears it will perish violently within a year.
In conclusion, the world’s most expensive crown jewels are fascinating not only for their exorbitant prices but also for their cultural and historical significance. From the ornate crown of King Henry VIII to the magnificent necklace of Marie Antoinette, these treasures have survived wars, revolutions, and centuries of changing dynasties.
Overall, the top ten most expensive crown jewels stand as a symbol of luxury and opulence, but also as a testament to the turbulent history of our world.