crown jewels

1. the jewelry and the emblems of office, such as the crown and scepter, that are worn or carried by the sovereign of a country on state occasions
2. [sing.] the best or most valuable part of a whole or member of a group

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the jewels and other precious objects worn or carried by the British King or Queen on official occasions. They are kept for the public to see in the Tower of London and include several crowns, sceptres and swords. Only two small items are from before 1660, as the original Crown Jewels were destroyed during the Commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell.
See also Kohinoor.

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Ornaments used at the coronation of a monarch and the formal ensigns of monarchy worn or carried on state occasions, as well as collections of personal jewelry consolidated by European sovereigns as valuable assets of their royal houses and the offices they filled.

Most familiar are those of Britain, which include St. Edward's Crown, the Royal Sceptre (with the Star of Africa diamond), the Sceptre of Equity and Mercy, and the Sword of Offering, as well as the coronation ring, anointing spoon, ampulla (flask), and coronation bracelets. Many collections of royal jewelry have been assembled, confiscated, and dispersed over the centuries.

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      royal ornaments used in the actual ceremony of consecration, and the formal ensigns of monarchy worn or carried on occasions of state, as well as the collections of rich personal jewelry brought together by various European sovereigns as valuable assets not of their individual estates but of the offices they filled and the royal houses to which they belonged. The practice is not yet obsolete, notably in England with the personal possessions of the late queen Mary and of Queen Victoria. The term is one that can lead to confusion, as with the crown jewels of Ireland, which were not connected with any coronation ceremony and included no crown. Rather, they comprised a jewelled star of the Order of St. Patrick and a diamond brooch and five gold collars of that order, all of which were crown property and were stolen from Dublin Castle in 1907.

      Many such collections of hereditary royal jewelry have been assembled, confiscated, and dispersed in the last few centuries, but certain items of particular splendour have been recorded and some even illustrated, e.g., watercolour drawings on vellum of four magnificent jewelled ornaments given by Edward IV of England in 1475 to Charles the Bold, duke of Burgundy, on the occasion of the Duke's marriage to Edward's sister Margaret. Further, a 17th-century inventory of the abbey treasures of Saint-Denis in France has engraved illustrations of many valuable objects that were dispersed through sale or theft during the French Revolutionary period. Napoleon I traced and recovered only some of the missing objects, but in 1887 most of the collection was sold by public auction. Similarly, the magnificent collection of crown jewels, mostly diamonds, owned by the tsars of Russia was cataloged and illustrated in 1926, when the Soviet government proposed to sell it in its entirety; some of the stones found their way to a London sales room, but the scheme as a whole was abandoned, and the crown jewels are displayed in the Kremlin in Moscow. Diamond brooches, badges, necklaces, orders, tiaras, sword-hilts, and coronets also were acquired by the royal houses of Saxony, Bavaria, and Portugal, in particular, and are still to be seen in Dresden, Munich, and Lisbon, respectively.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Crown jewels — Crown Crown (kroun), n. [OE. corone, coroun, crune, croun, OF. corone, corune, F. couronne, fr. L. corona crown, wreath; akin to Gr. korw nh anything curved, crown; cf. also L. curvus curved, E. curve, curb, Gael. cruinn round, W. crwn. Cf.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • crown jewels — ˌcrown ˈjewels noun [plural] a company s most important and valuable assets: • The energy company s crown jewels include huge natural gas reserves and an experimental oil business, which could yield major long term benefits …   Financial and business terms

  • crown jewels — noun plural 1. ) the CROWN, jewelry, and other valuable objects that a king or queen wears or carries during ceremonies 2. ) the most impressive or valuable possessions that you have: These industries are the crown jewels of the French economy …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Crown jewels — ► PLURAL NOUN ▪ the crown and other jewellery worn or carried by the sovereign on state occasions …   English terms dictionary

  • crown jewels — pl.n. 1. the jewelry and the emblems of office, such as the crown and scepter, that are worn or carried by the sovereign of a country on state occasions 2. [sing.] the best or most valuable part of a whole or member of a group …   English World dictionary

  • Crown jewels — The Imperial State Crown of the United Kingdom Crown jewels are jewels or artifacts of the reigning royal family of their respective country. They belong to monarchs and are passed to the next sovereign to symbolize the right to rule. They may… …   Wikipedia

  • crown jewels — noun regalia (jewelry and other paraphernalia) worn by a sovereign on state occasions • Usage Domain: ↑plural, ↑plural form • Hypernyms: ↑regalia • Hyponyms: ↑crown, ↑diadem * * * ˌcrown ˈjewels …   Useful english dictionary

  • Crown Jewels — The most valuable unit(s) of a corporation, as defined by characteristics such as profitability, asset value and future prospects. The origins of this term are derived from the most valuable and important treasures that sovereigns possessed.… …   Investment dictionary

  • crown jewels — {n. pl.} The crown, staff, and jewels used for the crowning of a king or queen; the crown and jewels representing royal power and authority. * /The crown jewels are handed down from one king to the next when the new king is crowned./ …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • crown jewels — noun a) the jewelry that accompany the office of rulership in a monarchy. I.e., crown, scepter, signet ring, etc. The crown jewels in the United Kingdom are heavily guarded and anyone trying to steal them will certainly have a hard time. b) A… …   Wiktionary

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