The jewel in the crown

From Wednesday, 27 April, until Saturday, 30 April, there is a unique opportunity to view stunning replicas of the Crown Jewels.

The 24 pieces will be housed in different locations throughout the Town Centre at Camana Bay, and a walking-tour map will be available to ensure you don’t miss a single bauble, crown, necklace, tiara or brooch.

The Crown Jewels comprise the regalia and vestments worn by the Queen or King of England during state occasions, including coronation, the opening of parliament and – of course – weddings.

The huge collection, accumulated by the extraordinary wealthy royal family over hundreds of years of conquest and rule, is literally priceless and features some of the most exquisite pieces of craftsmanship of all time.

The replicas were hand-made in London and are full-sized, polished and plated in silver and gold and set with Swarovski Crystal or hand-cut replica diamonds. By anybody’s standards they are beautiful pieces of art in themselves and are indistinguishable from the originals.

Unique collection

The Crown Jewels have been worn or used since 1661 and include regalia, crowns and diamonds, which have been donated by other royal families across the world, plus church and banqueting plates, orders and insignias, robes and a unique collection of medals.

The collection may have first been compiled by Edward the Confessor, with Edward III pawning them to pay for an invasion of Europe. Oliver Cromwell ordered the break-up and melt-down of the jewels in 1649, but some were later returned to the crown, and by 1661 Charles II was restored after the short-lived republican years and replacements were made for his coronation.

Since 1303, the jewels were held in the Tower Of London where in the 17th Century visitors who paid a viewing fee would gaze upon the vast expanses of gold and diamonds. During the 1700s, visitors were locked in a heavily guarded, small room with no windows where they were only allowed to view the pieces from their seats.

In 1967 a special underground Jewel House was built, but the sheer number of visitors was too big for the display to handle – and a new exhibition site was opened by the Queen in 1994.

The replicas were all hand-made by Juliette Designs, which has specialised in all forms of crown jewels for more than 25 years. Some pieces are enamelled by hand and the crowns are fitted with velvet caps of estate and faux-ermine.

Intricate detail

The collection has taken many years to construct and assemble with the greatest care taken with every single piece to preserve intricate detail and beauty. The collection, say the makers, is a tribute to over 900 years of English monarchy and the most authentic representation of the Crown Jewels.

The pieces on show at the Mansion are St. Edward’s Crown; King George IV State Diadem; The Royal Sceptre; The Orb; Queen Victoria’s Bow Brooch; the Hope Necklace; The Marie Antoinette Necklace; King George VI Chandelier Earrings; King Edward VII Family Order; The Sword of State; and The Collar of the Order of the Garter.

Books & Books hosts Victoria And Albert Family Order – Queen Alexandra’s Badge; NKY Collections has Princess Diana’s Emerald Choker; NKY Fashions has The Three Feathers; Le Visage has The Imperial State Crown.

Island Company has Queen Alexandra’s Triple Drop Brooch; Sand Angels has Queen Mother’s Crown; Soles and the Jean Bar has Order of the Garter – George III Diamond Star; The Cabana has the Armills of Charless II from 1661.

Mailboxes, etc has the King George III Fringed Tiara; Eclipze has the Coronation Rings; Audi will be showing the Spencer Tiara and Digicel is host to King George VI Victorian Suite Necklace.

Bedside Manor is the place to see Prince Albert’s Brooch and The Discovery Centre is holding the Burmese Ruby Tiara.

Like the street party on Friday, 29 April, viewing of the crown jewels exhibit is free to everyone.

This truly is an opportunity to glimpse another world, in which crowns, tiaras, glitter and gold are an everyday occurrence. As far as bling-bling goes, not even Puff Daddy can hope to compete with these guys.