Meet Mallards’ version of the Crown Jewels! We designed and made this mini version of the Imperial State Crown for the Houses of Parliament shop. The sterling silver crown sits on a tasselled cushion, just as the real crown does on ceremonial occasions, and makes an attractive and original pendant.
The actual Imperial State Crown is an impressive piece. Weighing in at over a kilo, there’s no wonder that the Queen is said to practice wearing it before a state occasion! The current Imperial State Crown was made in 1937. It holds Cullinan II, which is the second largest clear-cut diamond in the world, known as the “Second Star of Africa”. It also features St Edward’s Sapphire and the Black Prince’s Ruby, and pearls which were worn by the first Queen Elizabeth. The crown has four crosses and four fleur de lis, with two arches topped by a cross pattee. For comfort, it has a velvet “cap of estate”.
The Imperial State Crown is worn by the monarch on two occasions: after the coronation (St Edward’s crown is used for the actual ceremony) and for the State Opening of Parliament. For the latter, the crown travels to the Palace of Westminster in its own carriage, and the Queen puts it on in the Robing Room before making her speech in the House. For this year’s “dressed down opening”, both monarch and regalia travelled by car, and the crown spent the speech sitting on its cushion (just like our pendant!). Afterwards, it’s returned to the Tower of London where it’s displayed with the other Crown Jewels
Usually, the crown is carried in on the cushion, and the monarch wears it for the duration of the speech. Our cushioned crown was inspired by wooden carvings in the House of Commons. The sovereignty of Parliament and the significance of the State Opening are recognised in the carved finials at the end of the benches (have a close look the next time you see a parliamentary debate on the news). The crown sits on top of the posts, on a four-tasselled, quilted cushion.
Realising this detail in pendant-sized sterling silver posed quite a challenge! We had to capture the delicate design of the crown as well as getting the softness of the cap and cushion. However, the distinctive shape of the arches and cross pattee helped us create a strong and recognisable shape. The pendant’s bail sits neatly on the top of the crown, and the end result is a really appealing and intricate little charm.
If you have a significant emblem or architectural detail in your historic property, we’d love to hear from you. We specialise in creating bespoke jewellery for heritage gift shops and online stores. Please get in touch, and we’ll work with you to design and make a range that’s perfect for your customers.