The mayor of Prague wants to make the crown jewels of Bohemia accessible to the public

St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague Castle, seat of Czech kings, houses a priceless treasure: the Crown Jewels of Bohemia that were used in the coronation of the country’s monarchs.

The crown jewels, including a crown, orb and scepter, are kept in a vault in St. Vitus Cathedral. The chamber has seven locks and seven important Czech personalities, including President Miloš Zeman, hold the keys.

Other key holders are the Prime Minister, the Archbishop of Prague, the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, the Speaker of the Senate, the Dean of the Metropolitan Chapter of St. Vitus Cathedral and the Mayor of Prague.

“For four years, this state treasure has been hidden from public view. And it’s a shame. As one of the seven keymen, I therefore propose the display of jewels. Our protocol department is already trying to organize a possible meeting with the castle,” Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib said..

The crown jewels were originally in Karlštejn Castle. Since 1791 they have been kept in St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague Castle.

The crown was made for the coronation of Charles IV in 1347 and is the fourth oldest in Europe.

The crown is 22 carat gold with 19 sapphires, 30 emeralds, 44 spinels, 20 pearls, a ruby, a rubellite and an aquamarine. At the top of the crown is the cross, which is said to have a thorn from Christ’s crown of thorns.

The scepter is 18k gold, with four sapphires, five spinels and 62 pearls with a large spinel mounted on the scepter. The orb is 18k gold with eight sapphires, six spinels and 31 pearls. It is decorated with scenes from the Old Testament.

prague bohemian jewelry

St. Wenceslas Crown

The crown of St. Wenceslas – made of extremely pure gold (21-22 carats), adorned with precious stones and pearls – is the oldest element of the crown jewels. It weighs almost two and a half kilos and, including the cross, reaches a height of 19 cm. Likewise, its diameter is 19 cm and each of the four parts of the headband measures 14.5 cm.

Charles IV had it made for his coronation in 1347 and immediately dedicated it to the country’s first patron saint, St. Wenceslas, and bequeathed it as a state crown for the coronation of future Czech kings, his successors to the Czech throne. However, perhaps until the end of his days (1378), he continually had the crown modified and set with additional rare gemstones which he managed to acquire. And so the crown developed into its final contemporary image.

Royal Apple

The Apple in fine gold (18 carats), weighs 780 grams and measures 22 cm in height. It consists of two flattened hemispheres connected by a decorative circular band and crowned with a rather large cross.

The circle under the cross bears the inscription DOMINE IN VIRTUTE TUA LETABITUR REX ET SUPER SALUTARE TUAM EXULTABIT (O Lord, in your strength the king will rejoice and in your salvation how much he will rejoice). The richly ornate decorations feature mostly precious stones and pearls, while the small, light figures of six sphinxes on the base of the cross form a charming detail.

Coronation Cloak

The coronation cape, which was kept in Prague Castle, is made of a luxurious silk fabric, called golden lily. A pattern of the fabric is made of a silk thread wrapped around a flat gold thread (upside down). The design of the coat itself is semi-circular, sleeveless, extended at the back to form a train. It measures 312 cm wide and measures 236 cm in length from the neckline to the end of the train.

Berta D. Wells