Engagement ring of Lady Diana Spencer
Lady Diana Spencer and Charles, Prince of Wales, became engaged in February 1981. Her engagement ring consisted of 14 solitaire diamonds surrounding a 12-carat oval blue Ceylon sapphire set in 18-karat white gold. It was created by then-crown jeweller Garrard and cost, at the time, £28,000 (equivalent to £98,000 in 2016). Its estimated value in 2014 was £300,000 (equivalent to £308,000 in 2016).
Diana's selection of this ring was unusual. It was neither custom-made nor unique and was, at the time of her engagement to Charles, featured in Garrard's jewellery collection and available to anyone for purchase. Some commentators say Diana selected it because it reminded her of her mother's engagement ring, while others say that she chose it due to its big size. The ring is said to bear a resemblance to Queen Victoria's sapphire-and-diamond wedding brooch, which was chosen for her by Prince Albert. Nevertheless, she continued to use the ring even after her divorce from Prince Charles.
After Diana's death, Princes William and Harry selected mementos from their mother's possessions. Harry chose the engagement ring, while William selected Diana's £19,000 yellow gold Cartier Tank Francaise watch. They eventually exchanged mementos. When Prince William proposed to Catherine Middleton in the autumn of 2010 in Kenya, he gave her the ring. William later said that giving the ring to his fiancée was a "way of making sure my mother didn't miss out on today and the excitement." Middleton eventually had the ring resized because she had lost weight prior to the wedding. Her finger being an H, she asked Crown Jewellers G Collins and Sons to attach two platinum studs to it to make it a size I.
After the engagement was announced, some called the ring the "Commoner's Sapphire," a reference to the bride's non-royal origins. Others considered the ring a tragic symbol associated with Diana's failed marriage to the Prince of Wales and untimely death in a car accident in Paris.
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