JTV Goes to London for the 2012 Gem-A Conference

Published on JTV.com: November 2012
A Personal Perspective on Travelling with Co-Founder Jerry Sisk
By: Tim Matthews, CEO & President

This is page 9 of a 10 page article on the Gem-A Conference in London. Read page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

After an exhilarating morning at the Natural History Museum, our last planned excursion was a private tour of the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London (Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress), the historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames. Tower Hill was founded in 1066 following the Norman conquest of England by William the Conqueror. The innermost building shown here is the “White Tower”, a keep that originally served as a royal residence. Across from the White Tower is Waterloo Block or Waterloo Barracks, the building presently housing the Crown Jewels in a part referred to as the "Jewel House."


No pictures inside the Jewel House were permitted (so we left with no pictures) but the tour was outstanding. Since our tour was private, we avoided competing with a crowd for close-up views of the Crown Jewels. What a pleasure to marvel at these jewels among gemological experts, discussing such topics as the cutting of the culet on the Cullinan I diamond, a 530.2 carat treasure also known as the Great Star of Africa, adorning the Sovereign's Sceptre. Our guides directed us to the Black Prince's Ruby (actually, a red spinel) in the Imperial State Crown which, curiously, has a hole bored through the top that is concealed in the crown by a smaller ruby affixed over the hole. You would be pleased to know that Jewelry Television’s Learning Library is a great place to learn about treasures such as the Black Prince’s Ruby. These precious state treasures, along with many others such as the Imperial Crown of India, the Crown of the Queen Mother, St. Edward's Crown, precious orbs, sceptres, royal vestments, swords, rings, serving dishes and a host of priceless jewels were truly a highlight of our trip. We marveled at the beauty and craftsmanship of each piece. Any opportunity to see the Crown Jewels again would be well worth the trip.

As we departed from the Crown Jewels area and stepped outside the Jewel House, the sun had fallen and the night lights of London illuminated the skyline. The beauty of Tower Bridge struck me and I tried to imagine the look of the Olympic rings from the bridge as it had been decorated when London hosted the Olympics last summer. Tower Bridge is sometimes confused with “London Bridge” (the next bridge upstream) but actually takes its name from its proximity to the Tower of London. The bridge is a stately reminder of the grace and classic historic beauty of this city.