The Laings Journal

The Story of an Iconic Piece of Jewellery: Princess Diana’s Engagement Ring

Princess Diana’s striking blue sapphire engagement ring is one of the most iconic pieces of jewellery in Britain, and arguably the most famous engagement ring in the world.

Diana wearing her Sapphire engagement ring

Princess Diana’s iconic engagement ring is a 12ct oval Ceylon sapphire surrounded by 14 round diamonds and set in white gold. The sapphire is a traditional royal blue and is thought to have been mined in South Africa. When Charles proposed to Diana in 1981, he purchased the ring for £28,000. Today, it is estimated to be worth up to £300,000.

Sapphire engagement drawing

The sapphire and diamond engagement ring were inspired by Queen Victoria’s sapphire brooch from 1840, which she wore as her ‘something blue’ on her wedding day. This ring reminded Charles of his grandmother and mother, representing marriage, family, and a symbol of love. Charles was delighted it when he saw it in the jeweler’s catalogue and selected it as one of his favourite rings. When different options were presented to Princess Diana, supposedly the young couple decided on it together as it complimented her blue eyes.

The Queen's Sapphire brooch

One of the most interesting things about Diana’s engagement ring is that it was featured in the Garrard Royal Jewellers’ Catalogue in 1981. This broke royal tradition, as it meant that the ring was not custom designed and created with a royal heirloom, so others could purchase the same engagement ring as the Princess. Arguably this is a testament to Princess Diana’s grounded nature, having not been put off by the supposed royal custom being broken, being swayed by the sentimental value of the piece for both her and Charles. A fitting decision for the People’s Princess.

Princess Kate wearing Diana's engagement ring

Princess Diana’s choice of ring sparked a sapphire engagement ring trend that has lived on to this day. Sapphires rank nine on Mohs hardness scale, making them the perfect gemstone for everyday wear. Princess Diana’s ring wasn’t worn following her death until William proposed to Princess Kate with it. A true sentiment of love and a reminder of his mother, this gesture allowed the beautiful ring to be enjoyed once again, reminding a new generation of women just how remarkable and timeless sapphire engagement rings are.


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