The Crown Jewels, in the Tower of London

Letter T.

All the Crown Jewels, or Regalia, used by the Sovereign on great state occasions, are kept in the Tower of London, where they have been for nearly two centuries. The first express mention made of the Regalia being kept in this palatial fortress, occurs in the reign of Henry III., previously to which they were deposited either in the Treasury of the Temple, or in some religious house dependent upon the Crown. Seldom, however, did the jewels remain in the Tower for any length of time, for they were repeatedly pledged to meet the exigences of the Sovereign. An inventory of the jewels in the Tower, made by order of James I., is of great length; although Henry III., during the Lincolnshire rebellion, in 1536, greatly reduced the value and number of the Royal store. In the reign of Charles II., a desperate attempt was made by Colonel Blood and his accomplices to possess themselves of the Royal Jewels.

The Regalia were originally kept in a small building on the south side of the White Tower; but, in the reign of Charles I., they were transferred to a strong chamber in the Martin Tower, afterwards called the Jewel Tower. Here they remained until the fire in 1840; when being threatened with destruction from the flames which were raging near them, they were carried away by the warders, and placed for safety in the house of the Governor. In 1841 they were removed to the new Jewel-House, which is much more commodious than the old vaulted chamber in which they were previously shown.

The QUEEN'S, or IMPERIAL CROWN was made for the coronation of her present Majesty. It is composed of a cap of purple velvet, enclosed by hoops of silver, richly dight with gems, in the form shown in our Illustration. The arches rise almost to a point instead of being depressed, are covered with pearls, and are surmounted by an orb of brilliants. Upon this is placed a Maltese or cross pattee of brilliants. Four crosses and four fleurs-de-lis surmount the circlet, all composed of diamonds, the front cross containing the "inestimable sapphire," of the purest and deepest azure, more than two inches long, and an inch broad; and, in the circlet beneath it, is a rock ruby, of enormous size and exquisite colour, said to have been worn by the Black Prince at the battle of Cressy, and by Henry V. at the battle of Agincourt. The circlet is enriched with diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, and rubies. This crown was altered from the one constructed expressly for the coronation of King George IV.: the superb diadem then weighed 5-1/2 lb., and was worn by the King on his return in procession from the Abbey to the Hall at Westminster.

The OLD IMPERIAL CROWN (St. Edward's) is the one whose form is so familiar to us from its frequent representation on the coin of the realm, the Royal arms, &c. It was made for the coronation of Charles II., to replace the one broken up and sold during the Civil Wars, which was said to have been worn by Edward the Confessor. It is of gold, and consists of two arches crossing at the top, and rising from a rim or circlet of gold, over a cap of crimson velvet, lined with white taffeta, and turned up with ermine. The base of the arches on each side is covered by a cross pattee; between the crosses are four fleurs-de-lis of gold, which rise out of the circle: the whole of these are splendidly enriched with pearls and precious stones. On the top, at the intersection of the arches, which are somewhat depressed, are a mound and cross of gold the latter richly jewelled, and adorned with three pearls, one on the top, and one pendent at each limb.

The PRINCE OF WALES'S CROWN is of pure gold, unadorned with jewels. On occasions of state, it is placed before the seat occupied by the Heir-Apparent to the throne in the House of Lords.

The QUEEN'S DIADEM was made for the coronation of Marie d'Este, consort of James II., it is adorned with large diamonds, and the upper edge of the circlet is bordered with pearls.

Temporal Sceptre. Spiritual Sceptre. Queen's Crown. Old Imperial Crown. Prince of Wales's Crown. Queen's Diadem.

The TEMPORAL SCEPTRE of Queen Victoria is of gold, 2 feet 9 inch in length; the staff is very plain, but the pommel is ornamented with rubies, emeralds, and diamonds. The fleurs-de-lis with which this sceptre was originally adorned have been replaced by golden leaves, bearing the rose, shamrock, and thistle. The cross is variously jewelled, and has in the centre a large table diamond.

Her Majesty's SPIRITUAL SCEPTRE, Rod of Equity, or Sceptre with the Dove, is also of gold, 3 feet 7 inches long, set with diamonds and other precious stones. It is surmounted by an orb, banded with rose diamonds, bearing a cross, on which is the figure of a dove with expanded wings.

The QUEEN'S IVORY SCEPTRE was made for Maria d'Este, consort of James II. It is mounted in gold, and terminated by a golden cross, bearing a dove of white onyx.

The ampulla is an antique vessel of pure gold, used for containing the holy oil at coronations. It resembles an eagle with expanded wings, and is finely chased: the head screws off at the middle of the neck for pouring in the oil; and the neck being hollow to the beak the latter serves as a spout, through which the consecrated oil is poured into

The ANOINTING SPOON, which is also of pure gold: it has four pearls in the broadest part of the handle, and the bowl of the spoon is finely chased within and without; by its extreme thinness, it appears to be ancient.

The ARMILLAE, or BRACELETS, are of solid fine gold, chased, 1-1/2 inch in breadth, edged with rows of pearls. They open by a hinge, and are enamelled with the rose, fleur-de-lis, and harp.

Ampulla. Anointing Spoon. Queen's Coronation Bracelets. Imperial Orb.

The IMPERIAL ORB, or MOUND, is an emblem of sovereignty, said to have been derived from Imperial Rome, and to have been first adorned with the cross by Constantine, on his conversion to Christianity. It first appears among the Royal insignia of England on the coins of Edward the Confessor. This orb is a ball of gold, 6 inches in diameter, encompassed with a band of gold, set with emeralds, rubies, and pearls. On the top is a remarkably fine amethyst, nearly 1-1/2 inch high, which serves as the foot or pedestal of a rich cross of gold, 32 inches high, encrusted with diamonds; having in the centre, on one side, a sapphire, and an emerald on the other; four large pearls at the angles of the cross, a large pearl at the end of each limb, and three at the base; the height of the orb and cross being 11 inches.

The QUEEN'S ORB is of smaller dimensions than the preceding, but of similar materials and fashion.

Golden Salt-Cellar of State. State Salt-Cellars.

The SALT-CELLARS are of singular form and rich workmanship. The most noticeable is—the Golden Salt-cellar of State, which is of pure gold, richly adorned with jewels, and grotesque figures in chased work. Its form is castellated: and the receptacles for the salt are formed by the removal of the tops of the turrets.

In the same chamber with the Crowns, Sceptres, and other Regalia used in the ceremonial of the Coronation, is a very interesting collection ofAMPULLA plate, formerly used at Coronation festivals; together with fonts, &c. Amongst these are

The QUEEN'S BAPTISMAL FONT, which is of silver, gilt, tastefully chased, and surmounted by two figures emblematical of the baptismal rite: this font was formerly used at the christening of the Royal family; but a new font of more picturesque design, has lately be n manufactured for her Majesty.

State Salt-Cellars.

There are, besides, in the collection, a large Silver Wine Fountain, presented by the corporation of Plymouth to Charles II.; two massive Coronation Tankards, of gold; a Banqueting Dish, and other dishes and spoons of gold, used at Coronation festivals; besides a beautifully-wrought service of Sacramental Plate, employed at the Coronation, and used also in the Chapel of St. Peter in the Tower.