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13 crowns and a cursed diamond: 12 things to know about the Crown Jewels

Queen Elizabeth II, wearing the Imperial State Crown and carrying the Orb, arrives at Buckingham Palace from Westminster Abbey, after her coronation in 1953. Credit: Corbis via Getty

Everything you need to know about the vast collection of priceless Crown Jewels...

1. There are a staggering 23,578 precious and semi-precious gemstones across the 140 Crown Jewels, which comprise the largest set of regalia in the world.

Most of the present collection dates from Charles II - earlier items were sold or dismantled during the dissolution of the monarchy in 1649. Only four pieces remain from before the English Civil War: three 17th-century swords and a 12th-century spoon.

Some historians also believe that a proportion of early Crown Jewels were lost when King John’s baggage train was caught in incoming tides at the Wash in East Anglia in 1216.

2. The Crown Jewels are officially priceless.

They are part of the Royal Collection and are owned by Queen Elizabeth II in the right of the Crown. They pass from one monarch to the next, a practice that dates back to a 17th century ruling,...

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