Some of the biggest and brightest engagement rings in history have been worn on the hands of iconic women. These women served as models of class and elegance in their day, and their taste in jewelry is no exception. Here, we’ll detail ten of the most famous engagement rings in history.
1. Princess Diana/Kate Middleton
This 12-carat blue Ceylon sapphire engagement ring was first gifted to Princess Diana in 1981. At the time, Diana’s choice of engagement ring was a topic of debate. She was criticized by some for choosing a ring that was available for general purchase by the public. They felt that someone of her prominence should have chosen a custom design. On the other hand, she was praised for her humbleness. The ring set off such a frenzy, that jewelers everywhere rushed to design their own variations for sale.
In 2010, Diana’s son Prince William proposed to his future bride, Kate Middleton, with his mother’s sapphire ring. This was William’s way of keeping his mother’s memory alive and including her in his special moment despite her physical absence. Needless to say, the public was captivated by their engagement and marriage—their wedding was broadcast in over 180 countries.
2. Meghan Markle
Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle recently wed in one of the most talked about events of the decade. But prior to the televised ceremony, Harry proposed to Markle with a ring that is equally sentimental as it is stunning. The ring boasts a 3-carat cushion cut diamond that was ethically sourced from Botswana, where the couple shared time together. In addition, the center diamond is bordered by two smaller stones that belonged to Lady Diana’s private collection.
3. Elizabeth Taylor
Often referred to as the Krupp diamond or the Elizabeth Taylor diamond, this shocking 33.19 carat Asscher-cut stone was given to Taylor by actor Richard Burton. There is some question as to its present value, though it is estimated to be about $9,250,000! Taylor developed a close attachment to the diamond and was often pictured wearing it in public and in her films. It was even featured in an episode of the Simpson’s when Taylor was brought to life in animation.
4. Jacqueline Kennedy
Jacqueline Kennedy is one of America’s most beloved first ladies. Though she experienced great tragedy during her tenure, she always carried herself with poise and grace. Jackie’s class and sophistication were reflected in her style, including her Van Cleef & Arpels emerald and diamond engagement ring. After her and John were married, Jackie made some modifications to the ring, adding round and marquise cut diamonds for an estimated total of 2.12 carats.
5. Queen Elizabeth II
The ring worn by Queen Elizabeth II is as significant as it is beautiful. Prince Philip had it designed with diamonds that once belonged to his mother, Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark. The ring, fashioned from platinum, features a 3-carat solitaire with five small diamonds flanking each side. At the time of their engagement, Philip had not been granted permission by Elizabeth’s parents, and the two had to wait until she turned 21 to wed.
6. Marilyn Monroe
In 1954, one of Hollywood’s most famous starlets wed Yankee’s legend Joe DiMaggio. It was during their nuptials that DiMaggio gave Monroe the famous platinum eternity band. The ring was fit with 35 baguette-cut diamonds, and was both understated and beautiful. In 1999, the ring was sold at Christie’s for $772,500, despite missing one diamond.
7. Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn got engaged to Mel Ferrer in 1954 while vacationing together in Switzerland. As if that wasn’t romantic enough, Ferrer wowed his bride-to-be with not one, but three rings. The first was a white gold diamond eternity band, followed up with both a rose and yellow gold band. His thought was that Hepburn could wear the rings interchangeably to match her outfits.
8. Mia Farrow
Though their marriage only lasted two years, Mia Farrow’s engagement ring from Frank Sinatra has been deemed one of the most dazzling in history. The pear-shaped diamond weighed a whopping 9 carats and was custom designed by famous Hollywood jeweler, Ruser, whose client list included celebrities like Joan Crawford and Lana Turner. Today, the ring is estimated to be worth approximately $2,000,000.
9. Grace Kelly
The marriage of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III of Monaco was deemed to be “the wedding of the century.” But the wedding wasn’t the only thing people wanted to see. Kelly’s engagement ring featured an incredible 10.47 carat emerald-cut diamond and two baguette diamond flanks. It is reported that the Prince initially proposed with a much simpler ring, but quickly upgraded his future bride’s ring upon realizing that other Hollywood starlets of the time were sporting much more extravagant styles.
10. Priscilla Presley
Elvis Presley and his bride Priscilla wed in Las Vegas in 1967 at the Aladdin Hotel. Elvis had the engagement ring designed by Memphis jeweler, Harry Levitch. The ring boasted a 3.5 carat center stone and twenty smaller detachable diamonds lining the band. Priscilla has said publicly that she still has the ring today and continues to treasure it.
Shop Exquisite Engagement Rings in San Diego
Searching for an engagement ring inspired by one of these icons? Perhaps you’d prefer a fancy cut stone like Mia Farrow’s pear-shaped diamond, or maybe a gemstone like Jackie Kennedy’s emerald. No matter your style, Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers has something special in store for you. Visit our store on San Diego Avenue today and explore all that we have to offer!
*All images courtesy of The Knot