Learn more about Crown jewels
Crown jewels are jewels or artifacts of the reigning royal family of their respective country. They belong to the sovereign and are passed to the next sovereign to symbolize the right to rule. They usually include one or more crowns, scepters, orbs, swords, and/or rings. See also: regalia.
The enormous collection of the Ahosu (Kings) of the Danhomè (Dahomey) is kept in the city of Abomey. Since the 1980s the Getty Foundation and UNESCO have been trying to save the old palaces. The royal palaces are today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The royal insignia which symbolised the power of the king were the kataklè (three-legged stool), the afokpa (sandals), the avotita (woven cloth decorated with appliqué work), the awè (parasol), the mankpo (recade or ceremonial staff), the so (gun) and the hwi (sabre). In the course of the war against the French colonial power, many items were looted. Most of the items can be seen either in Abomey, or the Musée de l'Homme in Paris.
- UNESCO | Royal Palaces of Abomey
- Historical Museum of Abomey
- History Channel | Royal Palaces of Abomey, Benin
The regalia of the Kingdom of Benin, which stretched for its most part into Nigeria, were the Benin bronzes, which were plundered by the British colonial powers in their war. Most of it is kept today in the British Museum, which refuses to return them to the successor states of Edo and Warri, Nigeria.
The traditional emblem of the Mwami (king) was the Karyenda drum. These holy drums were kept at special drum-sanctuaries throughout the country and were brought out for special ceremonies only. One such place is in Gitega, location of the ibwami royal court.
 Central African Republic
- Ancient Egypt
- Kingdom of Egypt
The symbol of the royal power of the Asantehene (ruler of the Ashanti) is the sacred Golden Stool, the Sika 'dwa. It is used for the coronation and symbolizes the power of the Ashanti. It is kept alongside with other royal regalia at the Royal Palace in Kumasi.
List of some of the kingdoms Abeokuta - Adamawa - Benin - Borno - Edo - Fika - Gombe - Ibadan - Ijebu - Ile Ife - Ilorin - Jos - Kano - Katsina - Lagos - Onitsha - Oshogbo - Oyo - Sokoto - Tiv - Warri - Zaria (Zazzau) - Zamfara
Close to the old capital of Butare lies the nearby Nyabisindu, formerly known as Nyanza, the traditional seat of Rwanda’s monarchy. The Royal Palace at Nyanza, a domed construction made with traditional materials, has been restored to its 19th century state and is now maintained as a museum. Further historical artefacts are kept at the National Museum in Butare.
 South Africa
- Zulu Kingdom
There are several kingdoms in Uganda. During the upheavals after gaining independence, the monarchies were abolished. Only in the 1990s were the various kings restored to their thrones. Although they do not wield any political powers anymore, they are still a symbol of unity and continuance to their people. The royal regalia normally consisted of the Royal Drums, and are kept at the various palaces in the capital cities of the Ugandan states. See Ugandan Royal Regalia.
The treasures of Burma´s Konbaung Dynasty are kept in the National Museum in Yangon. They include items such as the Sihasana Pallanka (Great Lion Throne), and various other items. Other items can be seen in the old capital city of Mandalay.
The royal regalia of Brunei are kept in the Royal Regalia Building, which was completed in 1992, in Bandar Seri Begawan. Also housed are the Royal Chariot, the gold and silver ceremonial armoury and the jewel-encrusted crowns.
The most important item for the assumption of the throne were the Imperial Seals, which gave the emperor the mandate of heaven authority. These are kept either in the Forbidden City or the National Palace Museum. Numerous crowns, robes, jewels and headwear made especially for coronations and other official events. They usually contain very large Manchurian pearls and most date from the Qing Dynasty.
Indonesia has various kingdoms and sultanates, all with their own unique history. The most known royal courts are distributed amongst the islands of Java, Madura, Bali, Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Sumbawa. There are 23 royal courts or more which still exist today, headed either by a sultan or a ruler. Although today only HM the Sultan of Yogyakarta wields any political influence as the governor. In Indonesia the royal courts are either called kraton or istana. Below are some of them listed:
- Surakarta (Solo)
Various royal regalia and other items used for court functions may be viewed in some the respective palaces.
 Iran (Persia)
The crown jewels of Iran are the by far single largest, most dazzling and valuable jewel collection in the world. (VB Meen, AD Tushingham -University of Toronto 1968) The collection consists of some 40 cases - Many of the cases are filled with numeorus items - Some 30 tiaras, three jewel-studded thrones, and several other items. Most of the items in the collection date back to the Safavid dynasty which ruled Iran between 1502-1736 AD. Iran's legendary and heroic emperor Nader Shah Afshar who is referred to as the "Napoleon of Iran" and who ruled from 1736-1747 AD launched a campaign against India to regain the treasures which Afghan raiders had looted from Persias capital Isfahan in 1719. He brought back a vast amount of treasures, icluding several jewel-studded thrones, and huge chests filled with loose precious gems. Much of the treaseures were lost on the way due to the rough mountainous terrain they had to pass. The Qajar dynasty which ruled Iran from 1795-1925 AD added many pieces to the collection, and also commissioned Persian artisans and jewelers to create several objects such as dishes, tiaras, swords, aigrettes, etc, using the vast number of loose precious gems, such as diamonds, emeralds, and rubies. Fath Ali Shah and Nasser-al-Din Shah were two Qajar kings who were keen to expand and enhance the collection. When the Pahlavi dynasty - Iran's last monarchial dynasty - replaced the Qajars, Reza Shah Pahlavi, also referred to as "Reza Shah the Great" commissioned Iranian Jewelers to design and create a crown designated to the rulers of the Pahlavi dynasty. The crown was used for the first time in 1926 on the occasion of the coronation of the first Pahlavi monarch, and for a second and last time on the occasion of the second Pahlavi monarch, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. A crown was also commissioned from Arpel in Paris for the Empress of Iran, Shahbanou Farah Pahlavi, using gems from the Iranian collection. The Imperial Jewels are on display at the Central Bank in Tehran.
The Imperial Regalia of Japan (三種の神器 Sanshu no Jingi?) ("Three Sacred Treasures") consist of the Holy Sword Kusanagi (草薙剣), the Holy Jewel Yasakani no magatama (八尺瓊曲玉), and the Holy Mirror Yata no kagami (八咫鏡). The sword and the mirror are kept at the Shinto shrines in Nagoya and Ise in Central Japan, and the jewel at the Kokyo Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
The royal regalia of Malaysia are kept in the Istana Negara (National Palace) in Kuala Lumpur. The regalia is worn by HM the King (ms: Yang di-Pertuan Agong), and HM the Queen (Raja Permaisuri Agong) during certain ceremonies, such as the election as head of state, HMs birthday, awards ceremonies, and the calling of parliament.
They consist of the Tengkolok Diraja (Royal Head Dress), the Queen's Gendik di Raja (Royal Tiara), the Keris Panjang di Raja (Royal Long Kris or Keris of State), the Kris Pendek di Raja (Royal Short Keris), the Cogan Alam dan Cogan Agama (Sceptre of the Universe and Sceptre of Religion), the Cokmar (Maces), the Pedang Keris Panjang dan Sundang (Royal sword, long Keris and sword Keris), the Payung Ubur-ubur Kuming dan Tombak Berambu (Yellow-fringed umbrella and tassled lances), and the Pending di Raja (Royal Waist Buckle).
Malaysia is a federal state, consisting of thirteen states and two federal territories. Out of these, nine are monarchies headed by sultans. Royal regalia and other items of the rulers are kept in the respective palaces and courts. These are:
 Thailand (Siam)
The Royal Regalia, Royal Utensils, and the Royal Eight Weapons of Sovereignty comprise a total of 28 items. The Royal Regalia consists of the Great Crown of Victory, the Sword of Victory, the Royal Staff, the Royal Fan (or Flywhisk), and the Royal Slippers. The 28 items are traditionally presented to the Kings of Thailand at their coronation ceremonies. They are kept, amongst other royal items, at the Grand Palace in Bangkok.
The signs of the imperial power of the Nguyen Emperors were the Great Imperial Seal and the Sword. When the last emperor Bao Dai abdicated 1945 in Hue, he handed them over to the communist authorities.
 Austria (Austro-Hungarian Empire, Holy Roman Empire)
The Austrian Crown Jewels (de: Insignien und Kleinodien) are kept at the Schatzkammer (Imperial Treasury) located in the Hofburg Palace in Vienna. They are a collection of imperial regalia and jewels dating from the 10th century to the 19th. They are one of the biggest and most important collection of royal objects still today, and reflect more than a thousand years of European history. The treasury can be quantified into six important parts:
- The Insignia of the Austrian Hereditary Homage
- The Austrian Empire
- The Habsburg-Lorraine Household Treasure
- The Holy Roman Empire
- The Burgundian Inheritance and the Order of the Golden Fleece
- The Ecclesiastical Treasury
The most outstanding objects are the insignia of the hereditary Empire of Austria. They consist of the Imperial Crown, the Imperial Orb and the mantle of the Austrian Empire, and the Coronation Robes of the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia. The Imperial Crown, Orb, Cross, and Holy Lance of the Holy Roman Empire are also highlights.
- The archducal hat is kept today at the Augustinian Abbey of Klosterneuburg, in Lower Austria. Please see archducal hat for further information.
- The ducal hat of Styria is kept at the Joanneum in Graz, Styria. Please see ducal hat for further information.
 Czech Republic (Czech Kingdom, Bohemian Kingdom)
The jewels (cs: korunovační klenoty), and the Crown of Saint Wenceslas of Bohemia (Svatováclavská koruna) are kept in Prague Castle (Pražský hrad) and are displayed to the public only once every (circa) fifty years.
The crown is named and dedicated after the Duke and Patron Saint Wenceslas I of the Premyslids dynasty of Bohemia. The crown has an unusual design, with vertical fleurs-de-lis standing at the front, back and sides. Made from gold and precious stones, its weight is 2.475 kg. It was made for King Charles IV in 1346. Since 1867 it has been stored in St. Vitus Cathedral of Prague Castle. The jewels have always played an important role as a symbol of Bohemian statehood.
Interestingly, an old Czech legends say that any usurper who places the crown on his head is doomed to die within a year. In the eyes of some this was confirmed during World War II when Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazi governor of the puppet Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia secretly wore them believing himself to be a great king, and was assassinated less then a year later by the Czech underground.
(all text in Czech language)
In 1806, Napoleon Bonaparte conquered the Holy Roman Empire. He restructured the many German states and the Duchy of Bavaria was promoted to a 'Kingdom'. The ruling Wittelsbach Duke became Maximilian I became King of Bavaria. With his new status, the King ordered new regalia to be made. It can be seen today in the Treasury of the Residenz Palace in Munich.
The Bavarian Coronation Set consists of the Crown of Bavaria, the Crown of the Queen (originally made for Maximilian's Queen, Caroline Frederika of Baden, the State Sword, the Royal Orb, and the Royal Sceptre. Please see Bavarian Crown Jewels.
- Saxony (Sachsen)
- Thurn and Taxis
- Holy Roman Empire
The Imperial Regalia like the Holy Crown of Charlemagne, the orb, the sceptre, the Holy Lance, and various other items are kept in the Schatzkammer Treasury in Vienna, Austria. Please see Imperial Regalia.
- Hellenic Kingdom
- Kings of Italy
The Crown jewels of the Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946) are custoded in the Bank of Italy, due to legal controversy between the Italian Republic and the Savoia family. It is not clear who is the legal owner. The value of crowns, diadems and various jewels is valued at over €2,5 Billion.
Monaco features a heraldic crown on its coat-of-arms, but does not possess any crown jewels or regalia per se. The coronation ceremony consists of a festive mass in the cathedral of Monaco, followed by reception where the new prince meets his subjects. The throne and other items can be viewed in the palace of Monaco, which is open to the public.
The only surviving part of the Polish Crown Jewels is from the Piast dynasty and consists of the coronation sword known as the Szczerbiec. It is currently on display along with other royal items in the Wawel Royal Castle Museum, Kraków. Most of the Crown Jewels were plundered by foreign invaders such as the Swedes, Germans and Russians.
One of many royal crowns was made for King August II, Elector of Saxony when he became King of Poland in 1697. Since the original set was stolen, a new set was made for the coronation in Kraków. Today it is displayed in the Royal Castle in Dresden, Germany.
The royal Crown of Portugal was made in 1817. It was created in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in the workshop of Don Antonio Gomes da Silva, for King John VI. Today, the crown along with other royal regalia is kept in the Ajuda Palace, Lisbon.
The Romanian Crown Jewels consist of three crowns: the Steel Crown, the Crown of Queen Elisabeta and the Crown of Queen Maria; and two scepters: the Scepter of Ferdinand I and the Scepter of Carol II.
They are displayed at The National History Museum of Romania in Bucharest.
The National History Museum of Romania
The coronation regalia, such as the Great Imperial Crown, the Imperial Orb of Catherine II the Great, the Imperial Sceptre with the Orloff diamond, the Shah diamond, and others are kept at the Kremlin Armory Museum in Moscow. Please see Imperial Crown of Russia and Monomakh's Cap.
The old regalia of Spain was destroyed in the Great Fire of Christmas Eve 1734. In the 19th century , King Alphonso ordered a new crown and sceptre to be made. They are displayed at accession ceremonies and at the opening of the Cortes (Parliament).
The crown is made of gold, and it features half-arches resting on 8 plates bearing the emblems of the Kingdom. They are kept today by the Patrimonio Nacional (the Crown Heritage).
Sweden’s Crown Jewels are kept deep in the vaults of the Royal Treasury, underneath the Royal Palace in Stockholm. The symbols of Swedish monarchy has not actually been worn since 1907, but they are still displayed at weddings, christenings and funerals. Until 1974 the crown jewels were also displayed at the opening of the Riksdag (Parliament). Among the oldest priceless objects are the sword of Gustav Vasa and the crown, orb, sceptre and key of King Erik XIV and numerous other sovereigns. Please see Swedish Royal Regalia.
 United Kingdom
- The Papal Tiara is kept in the Vatican City, Italy. For further Information, please see Papal Regalia and insignia.
 Latin America
- The Kingdom of Araucania and Patagonia has a crown, presented to Prince Philippe of Araucania in 1986 by a group of Araucanian "nobles". Previously, the Royal House had no crown. Made of steel and containing stones from the Rio Bio-Bio, it is on display at the Museum of the Kings of Araucania.
The Imperial Crown of Brazil alongside with other regalia and mementos of the Brazilian Empire are kept at the Imperial Museum of Brazil (Museu Imperial) in the former palace of Brazilian emperor Pedro II, in Petrópolis, Brazil.
Some of the Crown Jewels and the original Thrones of the Kingdom of Hawaii reside within the custody of the Bishop Museum. Copies of the thrones can be seen at Iolani Palace. Some lie in state with the royals at the Royal Mausoleum at Mauna Ala.