Some might call it “trendy” to forgo the traditional diamond engagement ring and instead opt for a colored stone. Given history however they would be mistaken. It was only after De Beers created a worldwide cartel in diamonds starting in 1890, that diamonds became a common engagement stone. An engagement ring is one of the most personal gifts one will receive during their lifetime. It should reflect the personality of the wearer, the heart of the giver and the relationship between the two. Below are some examples throughout history where royals and celebrities opted for “non-traditional” colored gemstones to mark the beginning of their married lives.
In 1796, Napoleon, then a young officer with moderate means gave his future bride Josephine a “You and Me” sapphire and diamond ring. Each tear shaped stone weighs in just under a carat and is set in yellow gold. The Empress’s ring was sold at auction in Paris in 2013 for just under $1Million.
In 1936, King Edward VII gave Wallis Simpson, the woman for whom he would abdicate the throne a 19.77 carat emerald engagement ring with the inscription “We are ours now 27 X 36” for the date they became engaged 27 Oct, 1939.
Style icon and former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy received a diamond and emerald ring from John F. Kennedy in 1953. The yellow gold ring consisted of a 2-carat emerald alongside of a 2-carat diamond, surrounded by baguette diamonds. The unique design was by Van Cleef & Arpels and stands out as a memorable engagement ring.
In 1981, Prince Charles gave Lady Diana Spencer a 12-carat oval blue Ceylon sapphire surrounded by 12 diamonds and set in 18 karat white gold. The ring was not custom made or especially unique and became known as the “Commoner’s Sapphire”. Diana was said at the time to have chosen it because it reminded her of her mother’s engagement ring. After Princess Diana’s death the ring was kept by Prince Henry until William’s engagement to Kate Middleton in 2010. The ring holds special meaning for Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge as the ring is the Prince’s way of keeping his mother close to his young family.
Nicole Richey’s unique engagement ring is a beautiful cushion-cut pink sapphire surrounded by pavé diamonds on a diamond pave band.
Tara Reid’s stunning ring is a 12-carat round Citrine bezel set with a white diamond halo on platinum. Born in November, Citrine is Tara’s birthstone and makes for a personal and unique engagement setting, coordinating with her skin tone and hair color.
In 2010, Eric Johnson proposed to Jessica Simpson with a 5 carat ruby and diamond ring. The Ruby is embellished by diamonds on either side and set in yellow gold. Red is long been known as the color of love and the ruby is Jessica’s (born in July) birthstone.
Olivia Wilde was surprised with a round diamond surrounded with an emerald halo by then boyfriend Jason Sudeikis. He said he chose the emeralds because they matched her eyes!
Cricket player Shane Warne proposed to actress Elizabeth Hurley with a square cut sapphire. The nine carat sapphire is flanked by 2-carat trillion cut diamonds and is set in platinum.
Academy Award winner Halle Berry’s engagement ring is a stunning 4-carat emerald. The square cut emerald is set in a handmade gold setting with round diamonds on either side of the center stone.
In 1986, Sarah, Duchess of York was given a beautiful Burmese ruby, surrounded by ten brilliant cut diamonds in a floral pattern on a yellow gold band. It was said Prince Andrew chose the stunning ruby because it reminded him of Fergie’s fiery red hair.
Victoria Beckham, has been fortunate enough to have a number of “engagement rings” throughout her marriage to David Beckham. These stunning anniversary rings have featured gemstones including rubies, emeralds and sapphires.
If a couple want to celebrate their marriage with a unique, one-of-a-kind ring that will become a family heirloom and always increase in value from generation to generation, then nothing beats a fine colored gemstone. What few people know is that Sapphire comes in many colors and is so much rarer than the bland colorless diamonds that you can buy in any mall. Check out these beauties!