If you’ve ever watched a heist movie or a British spy film, you’re likely familiar with the high value of crown jewels. These high-value items and artifacts are a precious part of a royal family’s private collection or nation’s heritage. But how much are these crowns and scepters worth?
The most expensive crown jewels in the world belong to the British Royal Family. Their current collection boasts a potential maximum value of $5 billion. But the Bohemian St. Wenceslas Crown may be the most expensive singular crown jewel in the world, though it’s officially priceless.
Though you’re unlikely to find a crown jewel for sale, a few have cropped up in the occasional auction. Still, the most valuable of these objects won’t likely change hands any time soon.
Here Are the Top 10 Most Expensive Crown Jewels:
- St. Wenceslas Crown – Priceless
- Sword of Offering – $660 million
- Sovereign’s Sceptre – $525 million+
- Imperial State Crown – $354 million+
- St. Edward’s Crown – $39 million
- Wittelsbach Blue – $24.3 million
- Imperial Crown of Austria – $16 million+
- Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara – $14 million
- Elizabeth Taylor’s Art Deco Egyptian Revival Bracelet – $818,500
- The Sovereign’s Orb – $200,000+
10. The Sovereign’s Orb – $200,000+
The Sovereign’s Orb is a ball-shaped item with a jewel-encrusted cross sitting at its top. This crown jewel dates back to the 17th century and features dozens of multi-sized pearls, bright blue sapphires, rich green emeralds, and a glittering array of diamonds. Its base value is about $200,000, though it’s likely worth far more.
Though the faceted diamonds undoubtedly add to this piece’s value, it’s crucial to remember that many of the world’s most expensive pearls cost millions! So, there’s an excellent chance that the true value of this crown jewel lies somewhere in the millions.
But the British Royal Family isn’t releasing any information about the specific values of its treasures—and for a good reason.
In addition to never planning on selling these items, the family likely doesn’t wish to advertise which objects are the most valuable. After all, thieves hoping to make history may be more tempted to try and steal crown jewels if they can target specific, high-value pieces.
Still, it’s easy to say that any of the British Royal Family’s crown jewels are worth big bucks, especially after considering the fact that the total value of this collection is currently set at up to $5 billion.
Why It’s Expensive
The Sovereign’s Orb is valuable for two significant reasons: high-value materials and historical significance.
This crown jewel is made of gold, pearls, and faceted gemstones and dates back to the Coronation of King Charles II in 1661. Though you could recreate this object (for a high price), it’s irreplaceable due to its age.
As you’ll soon find out, historical significance, high-priced materials, and irreplaceability (scarcity) are the main three reasons all crown jewels are so valuable.
9. Elizabeth Taylor’s Art Deco Egyptian Revival Bracelet – $818,500
If you’re a passionate Elizabeth Taylor fan, you likely aren’t surprised that her jewelry collection included one of Egypt’s crown jewels, a diamond-covered Art Deco Egyptian bracelet created in the 1920s.
This bracelet is far from ancient, setting it apart from the crown jewels of Ancient Egypt’s pharaohs. But it was purportedly once owned by King Farouk, one of the last royal rulers of Egypt. As such, this bracelet was once a crown jewel!
But if you’re thinking of adding this unique jewelry item to your collection, you may want to think again. This item sold at auction in 2011 for $818,500. Its current whereabouts remain unknown.
Still, if you’re looking to invest in high-priced jewelry, you might want to peruse the most expensive bracelets in the world for inspiration.
Why It’s Expensive
This bracelet has quite a few attractive qualities that help it enjoy a higher-than-average value. Firstly, it features a parade of diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. These are some of the most valuable gemstones on the planet.
Secondly, this bracelet may have once been a crown jewel of Egypt. At the very least, it was part of Elizabeth Taylor’s private collection until her death in 2011.
This exciting past makes the bracelet a historically significant item that’s impossible to replace, which is another reason it’s so pricey.
8. Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara – $14 million
Now, technically, the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara isn’t a crown jewel.
That said, it is a jewel-covered accessory belonging to Queen Elizabeth II. So, in a way, it’s a collection of jewels belonging to the British monarchy, or “crown.” Besides, this tiara is too extravagant and valuable not to discuss, with an estimated value of about $14 million.
That’s not as outlandish as it seems when you remember that Princess Eugenie was the one sporting this tiara. She was wearing it at her wedding—a royal wedding! These events are known to cost millions, and the tiara might have fallen on the lower end of the wedding budget.
Still, though this bridal tiara is worth millions, its value is only a fraction of that of the Hope Diamond, one of the most expensive necklaces in the world. Notably, the Hope Diamond once belonged to French royalty, making it a “lost” crown jewel.
Why It’s Expensive
This tiara is the most expensive in Queen Elizabeth II’s personal collection. Its value partially stems from the fact that it belongs to one of Europe’s last (and longest-reigning) monarchs.
But it’s crucial to note that this tiara is studded with emeralds, one of which is nearly four carats. It’s also a vintage piece that dates back to 1919, making it an irreplaceable piece solely used by British Royal Family members.
7. Imperial Crown of Austria – $16 million+
When you think of a royal crown, you might imagine the classic circlet of gold with a few bright-colored gemstones. But true modern crowns often put these simpler versions to shame.
For example, the Imperial Crown of Austria is a complex masterwork of a crown, and it was made only about a hundred years after the medieval period ended.
This crown has a standard gold circlet base (covered in pearls and diamonds), but it also has large rising sides (called mitres) of gold that offer a little added protection and draw the eye upward toward the crown’s gleaming emerald.
Every inch of this crown is covered in stunning detail, and it dates back to the early 17th century, making it quite a historically significant Austrian crown jewel. For these reasons, it’s worth at least $16 million.
Why It’s Expensive
The Imperial Crown of Austria is a significant artifact that many Austrians consider priceless. It is made of precious materials and has survived the passing centuries while (primarily) remaining in Austrian hands.
Because it’s such a celebrated high-value item, it will likely continue to appreciate over time.
6. Wittelsbach Blue – $24.3 million
The Crown of Bavaria was once one of the most valuable European crown jewels, as it featured a massive, centuries-old diamond called the Wittelsbach Blue.
Sadly, the House of Wittelsbach fell on hard times during the mid-1950s, and they decided to remove the sapphire-colored diamond from the crown and prepare it for auction. It didn’t find an interested bidder at the time, but more than 50 years later (in 2008), it sold for a cool £16.39 million ($24.3 million).
This is the most expensive gemstone that used to be a Bavarian crown jewel (literally, as it once sat in a crown).
Why It’s Expensive
The Wittelsbach Blue (sometimes called the Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond) is undoubtedly one of the highest-value blue diamonds in the world, and much of its value stems from its size and quality. Its historical significance also plays a role in its final selling price.
Unfortunately, some of that historical charm has worn away. The Wittelsbach Blue’s new owner caused some controversy in 2010 when they decided to cut the stone (to add more faceted faces) and rename it to Wittelsbach-Graff.
Hopefully, future owners of this blue diamond will consider its history before making any irreversible changes to it.
5. St. Edward’s Crown – $39 million
British Royal Coronations are some of the most tradition-filled events still practiced in modern times, though the last coronation was during the 1950s. Still, this coronation (the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II) included rituals and traditional practices dating back hundreds of years.
One of the most significant parts of modern coronation ceremonies is wearing St. Edward’s Crown, one of the oldest British crown jewels. This royal crown has an estimated value of $39 million, but the actual value may be much higher.
St. Edward’s Crown weighs a hefty five pounds (about 2.3 kilograms) and features a laundry list of semi-precious jewels.
It’s actually based on a much older British royal crown, also called St. Edward’s Crown. Attributed to the reign of King Edward the Confessor, this crown was sold and lost to history during the mid-1600s. This replacement was created in 1661 and has a much less medieval style than the original.
Notably, this stunning crown is more valuable than the most expensive Fabergé eggs, some of which were essentially the crown jewels of the Russian Tsardom!
Why It’s Expensive
Though St. Edward’s Crown isn’t the only British royal crown worn for coronation ceremonies, it’s a far older and more traditional choice than the Imperial State Crown, created in the 1930s.
It’s also a new (and restyled) version of the original St. Edward’s Crown, which was used to coronate new British kings starting in the early 13th century. It holds significant historical weight, especially to the British monarchy.
But though the British Royal Family might consider this heirloom priceless, it’s officially less valuable than the newer British coronation crown, the Imperial State Crown.
4. Imperial State Crown – $354 million+
The Imperial State Crown is one of the newest additions to the British crown jewel collection, but it’s far from the least expensive. With an estimated value of about $354 million (a low guess), it’s far more valuable than the older St. Edward’s Crown.
This is the crown worn by Queen Elizabeth II in her coronation portrait! Unlike St. Edward’s Crown, it has a silvery finish (though it still features a gold frame) and primarily showcases clusters of pearls, emeralds, and blue sapphires.
Why It’s Expensive
This crown is one of the most recognizable British royal items, thanks to its appearance on official coronation portraits. But apart from its fame, this crown is valuable thanks to its craftsmanship, high-value materials, and significance to the British monarchy.
3. Sovereign’s Sceptre – $525 million+
For centuries royal portraits have featured noble-looking leaders holding ornate crown jewels. One of the most recognizable of these items tends to be ball-topped scepters covered in gemstones.
Though several royal European families had (or still have) this type of crown jewel, the costliest might be British Sovereign’s Sceptre, valued at least $525 million.
Like other post-Cromwell royal artifacts, this crown jewel was created in 1661, but it’s been altered several times since then. One of the most noticeable and valuable alterations came in the 20th century when royal artisans added the massive Cullinan Diamond to the top platform of the wand.
This diamond alone is worth about $400 million, putting the total value of the gold jewel-encrusted scepter at a minimum of $525 million!
Why It’s Expensive
This crown jewel is primarily expensive due to the 3,000-carat diamond sitting near its top. But the Sovereign’s Sceptre is also valuable due to its historical significance and other precious components, which include amethysts and emeralds.
2. Sword of Offering – $660 million
Five swords belong to the British crown jewel collection, and the most valuable is the Sword of Offering.
This gilded weapon was crafted in the early 1800s and debuted at the Coronation of King George IV. Since then, it’s appeared at every British coronation ceremony, making it an indelible part of the coronation ceremony and series of traditions.
It has an estimated value of about $660 million, potentially making it the most expensive sword in the world.
Why It’s Expensive
Though the Sword of Offering isn’t the largest in the British crown jewel collection, it might be worth more than the others due to its role in the coronation ceremony.
While the other swords are displayed to the ruler being coronated, only the Sword of Offering is held by the new ruler, giving it unique importance to the coronation process.
Of course, this sword’s hilt, blade, and sheath are imbued with numerous precious stones, including diamonds, rubies, and emeralds. This royal weapon is also made of precious metals like silver and gold. As you might expect, these rich materials also make the Sword of Offering quite valuable.
But like the St. Wenceslas Crown, this item might be priceless.
1. St. Wenceslas Crown – Priceless
The most expensive crown jewels may be of the Bohemian variety. For example, the Bohemian St. Wenceslas Crown (created in the 14th century) is so valuable that it’s considered priceless.
Like many other priceless crown jewels, this item isn’t displayed for public viewing. Instead, it remains safely stored inside the St. Wenceslas Chapel in Prague, its precise location only known to a select few.
Though this crown is hundreds of years old, it rivals modern royal crowns in opulence. It’s made of rich yellow 22-karat cold and embedded with more than 100 jewels, including pearls, emeralds, and sapphires. You can view a replica of the crown by visiting Prague Castle.
Why It’s Expensive
The title of the world’s most expensive crown jewels is divisive, as there are several potential titleholders. For example, the other remaining crown jewels left behind by the Kingdom of Bohemia are equally priceless, making them (potentially) the costliest crown jewels in the world.
This title may also belong to other royal artifacts like the Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire. Charlemagne, one of the most significant figures in Western and European history, wore this crown, which is only one of its notable attributes.
It’s challenging to say which are the most expensive crowns or royal jewels, as they’re all considered world heritage pieces beyond monetary value. In short, the crown jewel that deserves the title of “world’s most expensive” remains a mystery, as all of the potential candidates are considered priceless.
What Are Crown Jewels?
Crown jewels are precious gemstones or objects belonging to a royal family or government. Some crown jewels are literally jewels (like the nine Cullinan Diamonds), while others are historically significant objects tied to ancient and medieval royalty.
But most crown jewels combine these two qualities. They’re historically significant items made of precious metals and jewels.
For example, the Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire dates back to the 10th century, making it a unique royal artifact. But this crown is also made of 22-karat yellow gold, dozens of high-quality pearls, and an equally large amount of precious unfaceted gemstones.
This crown is likely worth millions based solely on its materials. But the fact that it dates back to the reign of Charlemagne makes it far more valuable—some would say priceless!
How Much Do Crown Jewels Cost?
It’s almost impossible to answer this question, as crown jewels belong to a nation’s or royal family’s private collection. Consequently, they’re rarely up for sale, especially to the general public.
Because many crown jewels are antique historical items, they’re irreplaceable. World leaders keep these items locked away for protection, as most crown jewels are uninsured.
After all, how can you insure something that you cannot replace? Still, their true values remain a mystery because most of the world’s crown jewels aren’t insured, which means they remain unappraised.
The Bohemian Crown of St. Wenceslas could be the world’s priciest (or most priceless) crown jewel, but that honor could also belong to the Danish Crown of Christian IV. Unless these objects are appraised, their listed value will remain “priceless and not for sale.”
What Are the Most Expensive Crown Jewels?
The most expensive crown jewels are those without a price. This might seem a little counterintuitive, but when an item is so valuable that it’s essentially declared “not for sale” for all time, its value is so high that there’s simply no payable price.
That said, the most valuable crown jewel collection belongs to the British Royal Family. Their huge collection of items has a potential maximum value of $5 billion!
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