The Royal Sceptre
The Royal Sceptre which is held in the Sovereivn’s right hand during the coronation is made of gold surmounted by a magnificent diamond encrusted cross with an emerald in the centre. Below the cross is a splendid amethyst and below that is what is believed to be the world’s largest diamond. This is a pear shaped brilliant known as The Star of Africa. It was set into the sceptre in 1910.
The Star of Africa is the only gem in the royal regalia whose history is accurately recorded.
It was cut from an immense diamond which was found in 1905 by Mr. Frederick Wells, manager of the de Beers Premier mine in South Africa.
Walking through the mine he saw what he believed to be a large piece of crystal protruding from the rock face. He dug it out with his walking stick.
He took the stone to Sir Thomas Cullinan who was President of the de Beers. It proved to be the largest diamond ever found, an unbelievable 3106 carats. It was named the Cullinan and presented to Kind Edward VII on his birthday in 1907 by the Transvaal Government with a request that it should be set into the Crown of England.
The diamond was far to large to be used, and the King decided to have it split.
A man called Mr Asscher from Amsterdam was chosen to undertake this difficult task, and the story goes, that as he delivered the blow to split the diamond, he fainted. When he was shown how perfectly he had succeeded he fainted again.
The two pieces were later sub divided. The first and largest piece, the Star of Africa of 530 carats was set into the Royal Sceptre. The second Star of Africa was set into the Imperial State Crown. The 3rd and 4th Star of Africa is worn by the Queen as a brooch. The last major works carried out on the sceptre was in 1910
Weight: 37oz. (1.6 kgs) Length 36.5 inches