It's a big week for the crown jewels of the United Kingdom! Earlier this week, we remembered the role of the sovereign's orb in the coronation 61 years ago. Today, Queen Elizabeth II will process from Buckingham Palace to Westminster to officially open Parliament, one of the great ceremonial occasions in the British royal year. While reading her speech (actually prepared for her by the current government), she will wear one of the most elaborate items from the crown jewels: the Imperial State Crown.
Made for Queen Victoria in 1838, and then substantially renovated in 1937 for King George VI, the current version of the Imperial State Crown features a number of important gemstones. Among these are the Black Prince's Ruby (really a spinel), four drop pearls said to have belonged to Queen Elizabeth I, the Stuart sapphire, and the Cullinan II diamond. I could go on and on about this impressive crown, but why do that when I can just hand things over to the lady who will wear it later today? Enjoy!