The Crown Jeweller is a member of the Royal Household appointed by the British monarch. He or she is responsible for the maintenance and, when they leave the Tower of London, security of the regalia and plate that make up the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.
The post was created in 1843 by Queen Victoria, who issued a royal warrant to Garrard & Co., and the title of Crown Jeweller was vested in an employee of the company. Until then, Rundell & Bridge, who advertised themselves as Crown jewellers, had been responsible for maintaining and preparing Jewels for use at state occasions. If the title had existed before 1843, it would have applied to William Jones of Jefferys & Jones (1782–96), Philip Gilbert of Jefferys, Jones & Gilbert (1797–1820), and Rundell & Bridge (1821–43). Before 1782, the work of repairing and making the Crown Jewels was distributed to various goldsmiths and jewellers on an ad-hoc basis.
Except for the monarch, only the Crown Jeweller is authorised to handle the Crown Jewels; others may do so with his or her permission. The office holder is on call day and night, all year round to attend to the Jewels. William Summers, the sixth incumbent (1962–91), poetically said of his job: "Where the Crown goes, there go I".
To celebrate Garrard & Co.'s 150th anniversary as the warrant holder, a banquet attended by Anne, Princess Royal, was held at Goldsmiths' Hall, London, in 1993. In 2007, Buckingham Palace announced that Garrard & Co.'s services were no longer required, the reason cited being that it was time for a change. The company had been acquired by a private equity firm in 2006. Harry Collins of the family business G. Collins & Sons, who is also Queen Elizabeth II's personal jeweller, was appointed as the new Crown Jeweller. In 2012, Collins stepped down from the role and Martin Swift of Mappin & Webb became the ninth Crown Jeweller.
List of office holders
- 1843: Sebastian Garrard[a]
- George Whitford[b]
- Henry Bell
- C. E. Newbigin
- Cecil Mann
- 1962: William H. Summers
- 1991: David V. Thomas
- 2007: Harry Collins
- 2012: Martin Swift
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