The English Crown Jewels are literally priceless. Gathered together over several hundred years, these iconic glittering objects are famous throughout the world and speak of the privilege and vast wealth that comes with being born a member of a certain family.
And whilst the jewels themselves are behind toughened glass in a heavily-guarded display room at the Tower of London, over the years there have been many different replicas made.
Chief amongst these is the set that’s being displayed in Cayman courtesy of Teresa Tomas, whose company Royal Exhibitions has shown perfectly-designed replicas in more than 80 countries over the years.
The jewels, said Tomas, are designed to exact specifications as outlined in a book called, simply, Crown Jewels, designed by the Stationery Office. The two-volume tome is considered the bible of crown jewel artisans and the company has the only known copy in the UK.
“It’s a very, very limited edition and shows you exactly how these crowns are made. I found it four years ago through Rare Books.”
The jewels will be on display throughout Camana Bay between 27 and 30 April in celebration of the Royal Wedding of HRH Prince William and Kate Middleton. These hand-made full-sized replicas are polished, plated in silver or gold and set with Swarovski crystals and hand-cut replica diamonds, which are an exact match in every way with the 24 original pieces – although they are made with cheaper materials, of course. Nonetheless, Tomas explained, there is one reaction that everybody has when they see these pieces.
“It’s one, big ‘wow’. A lot of people think they are real! The stones are even cut like the originals so they are very exact.” Indeed, one of the books will also be coming to Camana Bay, so that people can see that aspect of the craft and art of making these pieces available to a wider world.
Splendour and glory
The exhibition presents an opportunity to view the pieces that simply does not exist outside the UK, says Tomas.
“The real jewels have a home in the Tower of London and cannot leave the shores of England, ever. So this is the only way in which the jewels can be seen in their splendour and glory throughout the world.” At a recent exhibition in Thailand, the local presenters built a replica of Big Ben, had a horse parade and built an English rose garden plus a replica of the Tower of London exhibition space. It was amazing, said Tomas. The company also exhibits in schools regularly, which can stimulate a lot of interest from kids who love drawing the crowns, sceptres and jewel-laden pieces plus at the same time getting a sense of some of the history attached to them too.
Royal Weddings over the year have been also amazing events, concluded Tomas, who revealed that she has been watching previous royal marriages on British television of late.
“It stops people for the whole day; people come to a standstill and all they can think of is the Royal Wedding. I’ll be watching it on the big screens in Camana Bay; I’m very much looking forward to coming to Cayman and also looking forward to what Kate Middleton is going to wear on her head!”
This is the only way in which the jewels can be seen in their splendour and glory.