It has been 20 years since the passing of Princess Diana, and her legacy is remembered by the world as strongly today as it was two decades ago.
Kept forever in our hearts for her humanitarian efforts and grace, her style was also influential in fashion as well as jewelry.
Case in point was the unusual choice of her engagement ring. In 1981, Princess Diana chose the ring for her engagement to Prince Charles. She was criticized at the time for choosing a ring that “anyone could buy” instead of having one custom made. But Lady Di had an eye for style, and replicas of the ring were quickly in demand, as they are again today. The royal ring was originally purchased in 1981 from the catalog of the historic British jeweler, Garrard, for 28,000 British pounds ($65,000 USD). Today, the ring is said to be worth about half a million dollars, with the sapphire alone worth $300,000. Princess Diana liked the ring so much that she even wore it after her divorce from Charles.
Upon Diana’s death, both of her sons chose a keepsake of hers — Prince Harry chose his mother’s engagement ring, while Prince William chose his mother’s gold Cartier watch. But the two brothers had an agreement that whoever became engaged first would present the ring to their betrothed. Prince William romantically proposed to his sweetheart of over eight years, Kate Middleton, while they were on vacation in 2010 in Kenya. Prince William proposed to Middleton with the famous sapphire and diamond ring, stating later he used his mother’s engagement ring as a “way of making sure my mother didn’t miss out on today and the excitement.”
Diamonds and Sapphires
The royal engagement ring is a deep blue oval sapphire — estimated at 12 carats — encircled by 14 round diamonds set in 18K white gold. After her engagement, Middleton had the engagement ring resized by the royal jewelers G. Collins & Sons to fit her finger better. She asked them to attach small platinum beads inside the bottom of the ring to make it smaller. When Middleton first showed the ring in public at St. James’s Palace in London, she wore a royal blue dress by Issa that accentuated the blue of the sapphire.
Royal Replicas In Demand
Soon after Kate Middleton first appeared wearing the royal ring, demand for replicas skyrocketed around the globe as it did when Diana first appeared wearing it. The National Sapphire Company’s website actually crashed from demand-related traffic and jewelers around the world worked overtime to respond to the demand.