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Tower of London


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Crown Jewels
Jewel House at the Tower of London

Jewel House at the Tower of London

© Laura Porter, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The Tower of London is home to the world famous British Crown Jewels and they have been on display at The Tower since at last 1661. Representing far more than precious stones and gold, the Crown Jewels symbolize hundreds of years of British history and are still a working collection used today at many State occasions.

In 2012, for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the Crown Jewels were re-presented and newly restored footage of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation on 2 June 1953 is now shown in the introductory exhibition in the Jewel House.

The jewels include the largest top-quality cut diamond in the world (530 carats), the Cullinan I (Great Star of Africa), which sits on top of the Queen's Sceptre.

The oldest piece in the collection is the silver gilt medieval coronation spoon, displayed alongside the ampulla. It was probably made for Henry II or Richard I in the 12th century and is the only piece of royal goldsmith’s work to have survived.

Probably the most famous diamond in the world is the Koh-i-Nûr (Mountain of Light). It weighs 105.6 carats and currently sits in the crown of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, which was made in 1937 for the coronation of George VI and has 2800 diamonds. Legend has it that it will only bring luck to women and it was said that whoever owned it would rule the world.

The only crown allowed to leave the country is the Imperial Crown of India. Set with more than 6000 diamonds, it was made especially for the Delhi Durbar in 1911 when George V was crowned Emperor of India.

So far, there has only ever been one attempt to steal the Crown Jewels - by Colonel Blood in 1671 and yes, he failed.

As you would expect, the Crown Jewels are priceless.

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  10. Crown Jewels
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