Czech St. Wenceslas Crown
The Czech St.Wenceslas Crown, which was made by Charles IV, also contains power symbolism. It was dedicated to the patron saint of Bohemia, Saint Wenceslas, which added to its almost sacred character. It was used only on particularly important occasions, especially the coronation of new Czech kings. The first monarch crowned with this jewel in 1347 was Charles IV himself. The last royal head on which the crown rested in 1836 belonged to Ferdinand V. the Good. Other monarchs of the Habsburg family did not take part in the official coronation ceremony.
An artistic gem
The hoop with large lily flowers is set with precious stones (sapphires – some of which are the largest in the world, spinels, tourmaline, rubellite and aquamarine) and pearls. The stones have an intricate internal design. Red predominates on the front and blue on the sides. These colours also have their meaning.
The two crossed arches come from the belt of Blanca of Valois, the first wife of Charles IV. The arches are decorated with pearls, emeralds, rubies and spinels. At the top, a supposed relic – a thorn from Christ’s crown – was hidden in a sapphire box. The brocade headdress dates from 1723. The headdress, along with other jewels, is kept in the Crown Chamber in St. Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle and is only displayed on special occasions.