The Sovereign’s Orb and the Small Orb
The Sovereign’s Orb was created for the coronation of Charles II in 1661, due to the need for new Crown Jewels, after the originals were melted down by Oliver Cromwell during the Commonwealth. The orb itself cost £1,150 to make at the time, a massive sum today. The orb is hollow, weighs 1.32 kilograms and is 6.5 inches in diameter. Around the middle of the orb is a band of gemstones, surrounded by bands of pearls. The jewels include 368 pearls, 365 diamonds, 18 rubies, 9 sapphires, 9 emeralds and one amethyst. On top is a cross which is set on top of the amethyst, this is because the orb is a religious symbol, representing the monarchs role as Head of the Church of England. During the coronation, the orb is placed in the monarch’s right hand by the Archbishop of Canterbury. At the end of the ceremony, the monarch holds the Orb in the left hand as they leave Westminster Abbey.
The Small Orb was created for the coronation of William III and Mary II in 1689. It was made so that both of the joint sovereigns could carry an orb, with Mary using the smaller of the two. It is similar to the larger orb, being hollow gold and covered in precious jewels.