If the Queen asks for you to pass the salt ; then you better oblige her , for while the Chef is certain to lose his head ; you may well be on the way to the infamous tower of London too if you keep her waiting. So if you do happen to find yourself in this unfortunate circumstance, you better acquaint yourself with what passes as the salt shaker on the Queens dining table.
The Salt of State of Exeter Salt as it is also known as is a priceless 18 inch high jewel encrusted salt container. Made in 1630 by Johann Hass of Hamburg , it cost £700 at the time (nearly £750,000 in today’s terms ; but then given the history associated with it, the salt cellar would be as close to priceless as you can get). The Exeter Salt is set with over 70 gemstones including emeralds, rubies, amethysts, sapphires and turquoises. The shaker which was actually used in Coronation banquets up until the reign of George IV is now in permanent display at the Tower of London’s Jewel House. Surely you deduced that I was merely jesting about her majesty’s tendency to take off the chefs head? And surely you could then see that this sweet old lady would surely not use anything as ostentatious as this salt cellar?
The stones on this salt shaker would be cleaned and reset prior to each coronation. The Exeter Salt was gifted to King Charles in 1660 by the city of Exeter to win back favour after they had sided with the Parliamentarians in the civil war.
We also found a fantastic nugget of information while researching this crown jewel : The popular expression “Worth his, her or their weight in gold” dates back to the 1600’s and is actually in reference to this beautiful, and weighty piece of refinery, the expression being worth ones salt refers to the proximity in which one sat in relation to the salt cellar.
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