As part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, the Tower of London has opened a new display dedicated to the famous Crown Jewels.
The new display of the historic jewellery features updated lighting effects as well as new videos explaining the heritage and traditions surrounding the world-famous pieces.
In addition, visitors will have the chance to see restored film footage of the Queen’s coronation to the throne in 1953 as part of the exhibition.
There have also been improvements to make the display more accessible to visitors, with a new lift enabling access to a special raised viewing platform and the introduction of 3D models of key pieces for the use by the visually impaired.
In total, the Crown Jewels consist of 23,578 individual gems, with the most famous piece – George V’s imperial state crown – boasting an amazing 2,969 diamonds, 17 sapphires and 11 emeralds.
Michael Day, chief executive of Historic Royal Palaces, said: “The Crown Jewels, renowned for their beauty and historical significance, capture the imagination of visitors worldwide.
“With all eyes on London in 2012 for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games, this display will enable us to showcase Britain’s most prized treasures in all their glory.”
Other highlights of the exhibition include the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross which features a 530.2 carat diamond known as the Great Star of Africa, which is the largest colourless cut diamond in the world.
The oldest piece in the collection, the Coronation Spoon, is thought to date back to the 12th century and is used to carry holy oil at the special ceremony.
Entrance to the Tower of London, which is within easy reach of a number of luxury London hotels including The Montcalm, costs £20.90 for adults; £17.60 for concessions; £10.45 for children under 16 and includes admission into the new Crown Jewels display.