This week, we shine our
Retailer Spotlight on Houston Jewelry president Rex Solomon. The Houston-based
storeowner has assembled a permanent collection of life-size replicas of various
British crown jewels and some genuine royal regalia to catch the attention of passersby
and capitalize on the season’s royal mania.
The idea to promote royal
jewels actually came to Solomon years ago, after he discovered that the
giftware items in the display cases in the back of his store simply weren’t
moving. To give the non-performing cases new life, he began collecting royal
jewel replicas, replicas of historical gems, and some genuine articles from
many European kingdoms.
Some of the more important
replicas in Solomon’s collection include St. Edward’s Crown, which is worn only
at the moment of the British monarch’s coronation because of its weight (more
than five pounds). The store also has a replica of the British Imperial State
Crown, which is worn by Queen Elizabeth during the annual address she gives at
the state opening of Parliament, and a replica of the queen’s tiara (a.k.a. the
George IV state diadem) seen on many bank notes and coins in Great Britain.
The center necklace is a
replica of the Hope Diamond set by Cartier with the Star of the East
The outer necklace is a reproduction of the collar of the Order of St.
and St. George, but the grand cross is genuine. The star in the left
red cross is the genuine star of the Order of St. Michael and St. George
reproduction) and the star on the left is the Order of Bath (also
A life-size Queen’s Guard
mannequin is part of the permanent royal display at Houston Jewelry.
“Our exhibit also contains a
number of genuine royal items and regalia, these include insignia of the Order
of Bath and the Order of St. Michael and St George,” says Solomon. “These
items, which denote orders of knighthood, are made of gold and silver and fine
enamels by the crown jewelers and are presented by the sovereign to the
individuals that have been knighted.”
Solomon’s European royal
replica collection also includes a set of red and ermine Baron’s robes, which
are worn by Barons in the House of Lords during the state opening of
Parliament. Also in the exhibit is a 19th century replica of the High Priest’s
Breast Plate described in Leviticus featuring 12 gemstones representing the 12 tribes
The display has some fine
replicas of important diamonds including the Hope Diamond (45.52 carats) and
the Star of the East diamond (94.80 carats).
“We hope that our exhibit
will educate people about the important cultural position that gems and jewelry
has had on society, from ancient times to this very day,” says Solomon.