This Is How Much the Queen’s Coronation Crown Is Worth

Daily News, YouTube
Daily News, YouTube

St. Edward’s Crown, worn briefly by the new British monarch during their coronation ceremony, is the crown jewel of all the Crown Jewels—the crowns, robes, scepters, and other ceremonial items that have been housed in the Tower of London for centuries.

Weighing nearly five pounds, the opulent headgear comprises gold, velvet, ermine, and a plethora of glittering gemstones. And for the first 300 years of the crown's existence, those gemstones were just loaners, temporarily set in the crown for the coronation and returned immediately afterward. That changed in 1911, when the monarchy invested in a permanent collection of gems for the crown before the coronation of George V, Elizabeth II’s grandfather.

With sapphires, topaz, amethysts, and more, you can safely assume that this bejeweled hat would be pretty pricey to recreate for your Halloween costume. But when it comes to putting an actual price on the item, it’s not as simple as it seems. First, because the Crown Jewels are considered too historically important to ascribe a value to, there are no official figures attributed to them individually—the worth of the entire collection, St. Edward’s Crown included, is estimated to be more than $3.5 billion. Second, a professional gem valuer would need to remove and inspect each gem from the crown in order to properly evaluate their worth.

SavingSpot

Having said that, there are other resources that we can use to form an educated guess. With the help of Dr. Roger Harding’s book The Crown Jewels, the International Gem Society’s gem size guide, the catalog of the Queen’s fabric supplier, and several other reference materials, CashNetUSA’s blog SavingSpot virtually deconstructed St. Edward’s Crown and estimated the value of every single part to come up with a ballpark price for the genuinely priceless piece.

SavingSpot

Based on their calculations, the crown costs a respectable $4,519,709. The most expensive components are its seven sapphires, which total $2,142,000, followed by 26 tourmaline stones, which came in at $345,000. The 22-karat gold, responsible for most of the crown’s weight, only costs about $87,000. Wondering if there’s any single element of St. Edward’s Crown that you could afford? Surprisingly, yes—the vibrant, lush velvet is worth only $3, and that characteristically regal ermine ring would set you back just $34.

You can read additional details about SavingSpot’s study here, and watch the video of Elizabeth II’s coronation, featuring St. Edward’s Crown itself, here.

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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Florence’s Plague-Era Wine Windows Are Back in Business

A wine window in Florence's Via Santo Spirito.
A wine window in Florence's Via Santo Spirito.

Many bars and restaurants have started selling takeout cocktails and other alcoholic beverages to stay in business—and keep customers safe—during the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, 17th-century Florentines are surely applauding from their front-row seats in the afterlife.

As Insider reports, a number of buildings in Florence had been constructed with small “wine windows,” or buchette del vino, through which vendors sold wine directly to less affluent customers. When the city suffered an outbreak of plague in the 1630s, business owners recognized the value of these windows as a way to serve people without spreading germs. They even exchanged money on a metal tray that was sanitized with vinegar.

Wine not?sailko, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Things eventually went back to normal, and the windows slowly fell out of fashion altogether as commerce laws evolved. This year, however, they’ve made a comeback. According to Food & Wine, there are currently at least four in operation around Florence. Osteria delle Brache in Piazza Peruzzi is using its window to deliver wine and cocktails, for example, and the Vivoli ice cream shop, a go-to dessert spot since 1929, is handing out sweet scoops and coffee through its formerly dormant aperture.

Apart from the recent resurgence of interest, the wine windows often go unnoticed by tourists drawn to the grandeur of attractions like the Uffizi Gallery and the Florence Cathedral. So in 2015, locals Matteo Faglia, Diletta Corsini, and Mary Christine Forrest established the Wine Window Association to generate some buzz. In addition to researching the history of the windows, they also keep a running list of all the ones they know of. Florence has roughly 150, and there are another 100 or so in other parts of Tuscany.

They’re hoping to affix a plaque near each window to promote their stories and discourage people from defacing them. And if you want to support their work, you can even become a member of the organization for €25 (about $29).

[h/t Insider]