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Crown Jewels

London

The Crown Jewels

The collection is vast and jaw-dropping in its splendour and opulence - the collection makes commercial jewellers like De Beers and Tiffany look like crass street stalls in comparison.

Most notably, the collection is home to the crowns of past monarchs, the orb and sceptre and several justifiably high-profile stones.

Stately Crowns and Stones of Legend

Of these, the King Edward crown is probably the most famous. Used at the coronation of every new monarch, it is made entirely of solid gold with velvet, and set with 444 semi-precious stones; also included in the collection are the state orb and sceptre, held at important events and symbolic of the monarch's power over the state and realm.

Finally, the crown Jewels are home to a brace of awesome stones, the cursed Koh-i-Noor and the monstrous Cullinan I. Also known as the 'First Star of Africa', at 530.2-carats the latter is the largest cut diamond in existence, itself cut from the mind-bogglingly enormous Cullinan I - at 3,025.75 carats, the largest rough gem-quality diamond ever discovered. It is found majestically adorning the Royal sceptre.

The Koh-i-noor diamond had previously held the title of the world's largest diamond, but its history is an intriguing one. Re-cut to 106.6 carats, the Koh-i-Noor ('Mountain of Light') belonged to the last ruler of the Punjab, Maharaja Duleep Singh, and is said to have been previously owned by the early Mughal rulers. The curse is said to bring great misfortune to any male wearer, and within the British monarchy, only Queen Victoria had been able to wear it. The original Hindi text read: 'He who owns this diamond will own the world, but will also know all its misfortunes. Only God, or a woman, can wear it with impunity.'

The Details

Being within the Tower of London, it is obviously a good idea to work a trip to the Jewel Room into a sojourn to the Tower itself, especially since admission is included in the price of a ticket to the Tower. Numerous walking tours are available at the Tower, but be aware that due to their popularity, the Jewel Room is usually a little busier than other sections of the Tower.

Price-wise, an adult admission costs £19.80 and a concession costs £17. Children under 16 are charged £10.45, though all tickets are cheaper when booked and paid online, and family and group discounts are available.

Summer opening times (1st March to 31st October) run at 09:00 to 17:30 Tuesday to Saturday, while on Sundays and Mondays the opening time is at 10:00, with the same closing time. Last general admissions to the Tower are at 170:0, with last admission to the Jewel Room noted to be at 15:30. Winter openings (the rest of the year) are similar, but closing times and last admissions are 16:30 and 16:00 respectively.

The nearest Tube station is Tower Hill, with the nearest rail station being Fenchurch Street and London Bridge. Several buses stop in the area, and most (if not all) Bus Tour operators stop at the Tower. It is also accessible by Thames Ferry; Tower Pier is the drop-off point.

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Directions

Tower of London, Tower-Hill, EC3N 4AB

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