St Edward's Sapphire

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Queen Victoria's crown

St Edward's Sapphire is an octagonal, rose-cut sapphire that forms part of the British Crown Jewels.

Its history stretches further back in time than any other gemstone in the royal collection.[1] The stone is thought to have been in the coronation ring of Edward the Confessor, known later as St Edward, who ascended the throne of England in 1042, twenty-four years before the Norman conquest.[2] Edward, one of the last Anglo-Saxon kings of England, was buried with the ring at Westminster Abbey in 1066.

It was reputedly taken from the ring when Edward's body was re-interred at Westminster Abbey in 1163.[3]

How the gem survived the English Civil War in the 17th century is not clear, but it was most likely re-cut into its present form for Charles II after the restoration of the monarchy.[2]

Queen Victoria added the jewel to the Imperial State Crown, giving it a leading role in the centre of the cross at the top of the crown, where it remains today in the similar crown worn by Queen Elizabeth II.[4]

St Edward's Sapphire is on public display with the other Crown Jewels in the Jewel House at the Tower of London.

References[edit]

  1. ^ United Empire. 28. Royal Commonwealth Society. 1937. p. 253. 
  2. ^ a b Sir George Younghusband; Cyril Davenport (1919). The Crown Jewels of England. Cassell & Co. pp. 57–58. 
  3. ^ Kenneth J. Mears; Simon Thurley; Claire Murphy (1994). The Crown Jewels. Historic Royal Palaces Agency. p. 30. 
  4. ^ "The Imperial State Crown". Royal Collection. 31701.