St Edward's Sapphire Cut for Charles II
St Edward's Sapphire in the Maltese Cross
The St Edward's Sapphire is one of the oldest gemstones in the royal collection. This blue gemstone is mounted in the Maltese Cross at the top of the Imperial State Crown.
The Imperial State Crown was worn by Queen Elizabeth II after her coronation. It was also worn during the state opening of parliament.
The crown was placed on the late monarch's coffin during the laying-in-state at Westminster Hall. It remained there throughout the funeral ceremony and was removed shortly before the coffin was lowered into the royal vault in St George's Chapel.
The crown along with the orb and sceptre symbolise the monarch's power. Its removal signifies the end of Queen Elizabeth II's seventy year reign.
St Edward's Sapphire is named after Edward the Confessor King of England who's believed to have worn the sapphire in a ring. The ring is said to have been buried with him in Westminster Abbey in 1066. It was then apparently removed when his body was re-interred in 1163.
The St Edward's Sapphire was cut into its present form for Charles II. It was later mounted in the Maltese Cross at the request of Queen Victoria.
The Imperial State crown is housed in Jewel House in the Tower of London.
The crown is worn by a newly appointed monarch as they leave Westminster Abbey after the coronation. It's also worn during the State Opening of Parliament. It's decorated with 2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds and 269 pearls.
The uncut large red gemstone which is the Black Prince's Ruby is actually a spinel. The smaller ruby embedded within it fills a hole that was once drilled so the stone could be worn as a pendant.
The large oval-shaped deep blue gemstone towards the base of the Imperial State Crown is the Stuart Sapphire.