Prince William and Kate Middleton finally announced their engagement this week, after eight years together. This was a great day for the British Royal Family, but there was one thing that outshone the interviews, the reporting, and even the announcement itself – the ring.
On Kate’s hand was Princess Diana’s sapphire and fourteen-diamond stunner, staring out across TV and the Internet, and initiating an enormous wave of demand for a similar ring. Even her gorgeous, matching blue Issa dress sold out in sheer minutes on the designer’s website.
The eighteen-carat oval sapphire is set in a ballerina-style mounting with diamonds encircling the cobalt-colored gem in white gold. Originally valued between $40,000 and $60,000 when it was purchased from jeweler Garrard in 1981, the present value of the ring is reportedly at about $500,000.
After Princess Diana’s death in 1997, it was Prince Harry who chose the ring to remember his beloved mother. Prince William chose her 18K yellow gold Cartier Tank Francaise watch, on which she used to teach him to tell time. However, Harry gave the ring to William to propose with, as he saw that it was the perfect way to officially welcome Kate into the Royal Family. (No word on if William has traded the watch to Harry in thanks.) The most celebrated wedding since Princess Di’s will likely take place next summer.
Blue sapphires have a history as rich and deep as their color. The term sapphire comes from the Latin word “saphirus” and the Greek word “sapheiros,” both of which mean “blue”. Kings across the globe wore sapphires, having believed that the gems kept them safe, promoted divine favor, and imparted wisdom. Sapphires were also thought to have protected against witchcraft and to keep thoughts pure. The deep hue of the blue sapphire is said to promote serenity, honesty, and to preserve innocence. In more modern times, sapphires have been connected to love, and represent fidelity, honesty, and devotion. When the lore of the deep-blue gem is taken into account, the properties of the sapphire are indeed very appropriate for an engagement ring.
What do you think of Kate’s ring? Would you go crazy for a Kate/Diana engagement ring of your own? The holidays are coming, and it’s a great time to drop some hints if you’re hoping for a truly spectacular gift this winter. Men, we want to know what you think! Would you consider proposing with a sapphire ring instead of a traditional white diamond?
Even if you don’t have a half-million dollar budget, a ring like Kate’s is within reach. Gemvara has a lovely similar sapphire style with 14 diamonds in platinum that is less than the average ordinary diamond engagement ring. Like Kate’s ring, it will definitely turn heads.