Jeffrey: The theme rests on believing that when one sees The Crown, at say, 8-10 feet, you believe its the real thing.
Now when I got the idea from a very remarkable man, who works close to the Royal Househould, I told him very firmly there is no way anyone could steal The Crown Jewels.
He then told me how it could be done, and it was so simple.
I’ve know Alan for over 30 years, and hold him in the highest regard. We first met when I wanted a special present made for my wife, and he’d been recommended by a friend, and I thought the craftmanship was superb.
I’m with an old old friend called Alan Gard, who I asked a yar ago ” Can you produce The Imperial Crown, that will be worn by His Hajesty at the Coronation, and do it in such a way that no-one will be able to tell the difference?”
Quite a challenge, even for one of the greatest craftsmen on earth, and that’s why I’m here.
Jeffrey to Alan: We gave you this immense challenge, oh, last January, that just over a year ago.
I said I want to do something that is a hell of a challenge, even fow someone with your knowledge and repuration. I want to produce The Crown, and I want for the laymen, like myself, not to be able to tell the difference.
Alan Gard: I’ve been making jewellery since I was 15 years, for seventy years. And now I’ve been given the task of recreating The Crown.
We’re doing it by hand becuase the way I was been taught was hand made jewellery, and no computers or cadding has been used at all. And I’ve made it exactly the same way as the one, originally, was made a few hundred years ago.
Jeffrey: You always said the outer constrution would be very demanding, even before you put stones in, which I hadnt thought about. I remember showing people your picture of the outer consturction and they gasped. They see The Crown, and they don’t think about what you have to do.
Alan Gard: At the moment, I’m holding two parts of The Crown which is completely hand made.
We started with the metal, nearly 2 mm thick, and slowly bent up the two halves of a ball. It’s now ready to go to the setters, and after the stones are in, it will be placed together and fitted together.
The top section of the ball is a square section. It’s beginning to put the stones in, and this will be fitted on top of The Crown.
This is the top piece
Jeffrey: Right on the Top. That’s the peice that goes on the top.
Alan Gard: And no machinary used at all in putting every stone in. Every stone is individually set by hand.
Jeffrey: And so there’s an example of what one of these things will look like. I was asking you Alan. Look I can still see the bronze effect. How will you get rid of that?
Alan Gard: The last thing, after all the stones get are in, everything gets platinum or rhodium plated to make it white.
Jeffrey: So in your opinion, where are we?
Alan Gard: We are probably two thrids of the way there now.
Jeffrey: I couldn’t afford to have a craftsment who couldnt deliver something of such magnificence, then when you walked past it, you werent in any doubt it was the 1937 Imperial State Crown.
Alan Gard: There it is
Jeffrey: So when I came to you 17 months ago, Alan, and said I need an exact copy of The real Crown, what was your first reaction? Were you ever daunted and think, oh my god , this is never going to happen?
Alan Gard: Yes soon after I started, I had a few issues, and thought this going to be more difficult than I imagined, and at one point, I thought I might ring you up and say I’m not sure about this.
Jeffrey: I can’t do it.
Alan Gard: But that was just in the evening and in the night, and the next day it didn’t seem as difficult.
Jeffrey: And how long did this one take?’
Alan Gard: I worked on it for a few hours every day, and probably roughly 500 hours – if you consider all the setting that was spent on it, setting the stone, the making and fitting together, probably around the 500 hours, yes.
Jeffrey: Here is your final effort at producing the Imperial State Crown. We are only a yard away.
Wow, we are only a yard away. Will the public be able to tell any different?
Alan Gard: From a distance no.
Jeffrey: What about an expert like you? Could you, at six foot away could you tell?
Alan Gard: No. From six foot away I couldn’t tell.
Jeffrey: Let me end by saying Alan, people criticise our great country, and they say we don’t have the craftsmen any longer. Well you proved them wrong. Many many congratulations
Alan Gard: This is made exactly the way it was made, that possibly, it would have been made originally.
Jeffrey: Good Heavens. Good Heavens. Bravo.