Archway crown jewels to rent for £5k a week
PUBLISHED: 15:05 12 May 2011 | UPDATED: 15:31 12 May 2011
TONY GAY at firstname.lastname@example.org
A JEWELLERY designer from Islington has created a replica set of Crown Jewels that have proved so popular that they are in demand all over the world.
Teresa Tomas, 63, who lives in Archway, started making the imitation artefacts 20 years ago, and now has a wide range of faux royal treasure from many different countries.
Ms Tomas, who hires the full set of Crown Jewels at a whopping £5,000 for a week, said: “It all started about 30 years ago. I was a nurse, but when there was a jewellery boom in the 80s, so I started making jewellery full-time.
“Initially I was making the replicas for a guy who did exhibitions round there world. He retired, but we carried on.”
For the hire price, clients get the use of the jewels for a week, plus a talk from Teresa about the history of the crown jewels.
“I normally go instead of my husband, because he doesn’t like public speaking,” she said. “So while I get to go to these exotic places, he takes them to local schools and places like that.
“I didn’t know anything about the Crown Jewels when I started, I had to learn everything about them. I really wish I had paid more attention to it when I was at school.
“I have just got back from the Cayman Islands, which as a former colony has a big celebration for the Royal Wedding. Before that I was in Thailand with them for a European exhibition. They have become a huge part of the business.”
The level of detail means the jewels are labour intensive and are of considerable value in their own right, so they are kept in a secret London location.
Ms Tomas said: “Some of the crowns take literally months to make. They are all hand-made, and there is such an attention to detail because they are exact replicas of the originals.
“The jewels are cut from Swarovski stones and the diamonds are cut from glass and crystals. All the metal is base metal which is then plated in silver and gold as appropriate.
“We have expanded our range and now have Maharaja jewels, Russian jewels and jewels from the Queen of Bavaria.
“The full set of British Crown Jewels is probably worth about £250,000 because of how long they take to make. Since I got back from the Cayman Islands I have had so many inquiries to buy them, but it is not practical because they would take years to replace.
“They are priceless in their own way. Because they are unique, we have no competition. I wouldn’t want to sell them anyway – I love what I do.”
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Islington Gazette. Click the link in the orange box above for details.