Throughout history, people have been absolutely fascinated by the visual and tangible characteristics of exquisite gems. Some have attributed supernatural abilities to these stones. And even in modern times, it is a popular belief that gemstones come with mystical powers. Of course, this is not surprising since they come with astonishing features that every person on the planet admires.
The impressiveness of the stones has always struck admiration among people. Therefore, their presence on the original St Edward’s crown is expected. Something so majestic and divine needs to be ornamented with the magnificence of rare and mysterious gemstones. However, the crown is known for its colourful history and has undergone many changes regarding its gemstones. Namely, there have been many alternations for each coronation, but gems have always been a persistent feature.
Even though it is unknown which gemstones were used in the original St. Edward’s crown, we can take an educated guess because we know roughly when some of the first gemstones were discovered, namely amethyst, peridot and zircon.
Around 25,000 years ago, amethyst, a type of purple quartz, was first found in France. It used to be categorised as one of the five precious gemstones known as the cardinal gems. However, when substantial amounts of it were discovered in Brazil, it was reclassified as a semi-precious stone.
Peridot has been present since 300 BC and was cherished by the Egyptians. It was initially found on Zagbarad, an Egyptian island also known as 'Topazios’. It is referenced in the Bible and the works of the Roman natural historian Pliny the Elder, meaning it is regarded as one of the most precious stones in history.
Zircon – which should not be mistaken for the diamond simulant, lab-created cubic zirconia, is the most ancient gemstone on earth! Some examples date back 4.4 billion years. It comes in various colours – blue being the most prized. During the medieval period, zircon was believed to help with sleep, promote prosperity, and foster wisdom and integrity. In modern times, however, many individuals rely on zircon to enhance their self-esteem and promote empathy for themselves and those around them.
The mysticism of these stones
These three types of gemstones are believed to have been a part of the original crown with King Edward the Confessor in 1066. However, once the monarch had been reinstated centuries later, the crown changed its look, but still, it maintained its original resemblance.
Nevertheless, it is necessary to point out the reason why these specific stones were put on the crown in the first place. It is a fact that they are impressive and give it a more magnificent appearance, but there is more to what meets the eye. The ancient civilisations placed great faith in the mystical properties of gems, believing that precious stones could bring good fortune, well-being, and prosperity. Throughout history, diverse cultures worldwide shared similar beliefs regarding the power of gems. Furthermore, these unique gemstones were also symbols of authority and influence, with monarchs using them as a means to demonstrate their dominance.
The mysticism surrounding gems has been a significant aspect of human culture throughout history. Many ancient civilisations believed these precious stones possessed extraordinary powers that could influence various aspects of their lives, including luck, health, prosperity, and wealth. The universal beliefs about the mystical properties of gems suggest a deep-rooted human fascination with the beauty and rarity of these natural wonders.
Along with their mystical properties, the gemstones on the St Edward's Crown are a testament to the rich history and tradition of the British monarchy. Their inclusion in the crown highlights the enduring fascination and importance of precious stones in human culture, both in the past and present.
Today, while many no longer hold such superstitious beliefs, gemstones remain highly prized and sought-after for their aesthetic value and symbolic significance.
Kim Rix GG GIA
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