The Duchess of Cambridge wearing her diamond and sapphire engagement ring on June 6, 2014 Photo Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
The Most Famous Engagement Ring in the World
10 Things you may not know about Kate Middleton’s engagement ring
by Marion Fasel
December 1, 2017—From the first moment, the world got a glimpse of the sapphire and diamond engagement ring Prince Charles gave Diana on February 24, 1981, it became famous. On November 16, 2010, when another layer of history was added to its legacy and it was revealed Prince William gave it to Kate Middleton, the jewel arguably transformed into the most well-known engagement ring in the world. While the design is instantly recognizable all the many stories behind it are far from common knowledge. Indeed, some facts surrounding the engagement ring are a mystery. Find out 10 legends about the jewel below.
Official engagement portraits: Charles and Diana in 1981 and William and Kate in 2010. The Garrard sapphire and diamond engagement ring shines in both images. Photo Getty
- After Diana accepted Prince Charles’ proposal of marriage over a candlelit dinner at Buckingham Palace, she picked her sapphire and diamond engagement ring from an array of designs by the British Crown jeweler Garrard.
- There are a several theories on why Diana selected a sapphire instead of a diamond. Catty palace insider gossip is that the queen actually chose the ring. Royal watchers believe Diana picked it because it matched her eyes. She may also have chosen the sapphire because it was her favorite gem. Diana was quoted as saying she selected her ring from the tray “because it was the biggest.” Royal jewelry expert Leslie Field has disputed the “biggest” theory. She has said Diana told her it’s not true.
Lady Diana Spencer reveals her sapphire and diamond engagement ring as she poses with Prince Charles in the grounds of Buckingham Palace following the announcement of their engagement. Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images
- The design was not a custom creation but something off the rack, so to speak. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the popular look of a ruby, emerald or sapphire surrounded by diamonds was made with slight variations by any number of jewelers. Prince Charles’ brother Andrew presented a ruby ring similar in style by Garrard when he proposed to Sarah Ferguson in 1986. It was to the period what halo settings are to today.
- Princess Diana’s engagement ring features an oval shape Ceylon sapphire surrounded by 14 round diamonds set in white gold. The center stone has been reported to weigh anywhere from 9 to 18 carats. Most reports say it’s 12-carats. The royal family nor the jeweler Garrard has ever confirmed the weight of the center stone. It is traditional to keep that information private.
Princess Diana wearing the Spencer Family Tiara with a suite of sapphire and diamond jewels that match her engagement ring. The sapphire jewels were a gift from the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. Photo Tim Graham/Getty Images
- The official name for the design is the Marguerite, the term used to describe daisies in French.
- Since Kate Middleton received the ring, a new story about the inspiration for the silhouette has surfaced. Garrard has stated the designed was inspired by a sapphire surrounded by diamonds Prince Albert gave Queen Victoria the day before their wedding. The jewel has been worn by Queen Elizabeth on a number of occasions over the years.
Queen Elizabeth wearing Queen Victoria’s sapphire and diamond brooch in 1979. Photo Getty
- When Princess Diana died it was Prince Harry not Prince William who asked for the engagement ring among her possessions. When William was ready to propose to Kate in 2010, Harry gave him the ring.
- Prince William carried the jewel around in a backpack in Kenya for a week, where he was vacationing Kate, before he proposed.
Kate Middleton wearing the sapphire and diamond engagement ring by Garrard poses with Prince William in the State Apartments of St James Palace on November 16, 2010 in London, England as they announce their engagement to the press. Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images
- When the engagement was announced publicly, William said the ring was “very special to me.” He went on to add, “As Kate’s very special to me now, it was right to put the two together. It was my way of making sure my mother didn’t miss out on today and the excitement, and the fact that we’re going to spend the rest of our lives together.”
10. When Prince Charles gave Diana the ring in 1981, it was valued at approximately $42,000. Clearly the jewel would never be sold, but if the impossible happened it would garner tens of millions of dollars at auction on par with Paul Newman’s Rolex watch or Elizabeth Taylor’s 33.19-carat Krupp diamond ring. The price would be based on the history and sentimental value of the ring.
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