The world’s fascination with the lives of the British royals will seemingly never wane, and that comes as no surprise. They offer a real time look at what it is to be something of a Disney princess and their romances sound like fairy tales, even if they’re just the simple matter of two people meeting and falling in love. And if we are obsessed with the royals themselves, things seem to reach fever pitch when it comes to talking about their weddings – including those iconic rings - because it’s a known fact that no expense is spared, and the jewels are always dripping in diamonds (and history!) Here, we’re taking a look at some of our favorite royal rings through the years.
Where else would we start than with our new favorite royal, Meghan Markle, aka the Duchess of Sussex? Royal wedding aside, Markle won the world over from her time on popular TV series, Suits, before winning over one of the world’s most eligible bachelors, Prince Harry. Their whirlwind romance is clearly for keeps, because Harry wasted no time putting a ring on it. He proposed to Megan in November 2017 with a custom-made ring he designed with jeweler Cleave & Company. The ring features a cushion-cut center stone, sourced from their romantic trip to Botswana, flanked by two smaller round-cut diamonds – from Princess Diana’s personal collection. Originally, the ring was set in classic yellow gold, but the band has since been updated to include a micro pavé design. In keeping with royal tradition, the wedding ring is a simple gold band made from gold mined from the Clogau St. David's gold mine in Wales.
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No one could forget when Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton with Princess Diana’s famous sapphire engagement ring. The iconic oval sapphire is reportedly 12 carats, set in 18-karat white gold and is framed by 14 round brilliant diamonds. Ever the trendsetter, Kate’s ring has put color back into gemstones. When they got married, the Duchess of Cambridge added a classic gold wedding ring, also made from gold from Clogau St. David’s mine. It’s been reported that Kate now also wears an eternity ring, made from 18 carat white gold, believed to be something of a gift from Prince William after the birth of their first child, Prince George. For a full selection of eternity rings, set in precious metals of all colors, have a look at our collection.
Arguably the world’s most famous engagement ring, Diana Spencer had the 12-carat sapphire surrounded by 14 solitaire diamonds, 18-karat white gold that now resides on the finger of the Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Diana’s daughter-in-law. Created by Garrard & Co back in 1981, it is thought to have cost around £28,000 at the time and was quite an unusual ring selection for a royal fiancé. As it was neither custom-made, nor inherited, it was initially referred to in the press as the 'commoner's sapphire,' a slightly barbed reference to the fact that the ring was not a bespoke design. Of course, the oval cut has now become an iconic design, that generates much admiration and is instantly recognizable all around the world. Oval rings are flattering on most fingers and is always a great choice for an engagement ring, as evidenced by the rings of celebrities who recently got engaged like Sarah Hyland.
Queen Elizabeth II
As one of the world’s longest reigning British monarchs, you can bet that HRH Queen Elizabeth II has incredible wedding rings. Given to her by Prince Philip, her engagement ring includes a center diamond, surrounded by several smaller, pavé diamonds. Although he had made the ring for her, he did so using heirloom diamonds. His mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, gave him a tiara that she had been given on her wedding day so that he could have it dismantled and use the stones for Elizabeth. The tiara was gifted to Princess Alice by a now Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra of Russia — better known as the last of the Romanov rulers and the parents of the legendary Anastasia — for her 1903 wedding to Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark. Queen Elizabeth’s wedding band is quite simple, having also been made from a nugget of gold from the Clogau St. David's gold mine. For a beautiful choice of diamond engagement rings with pavé surrounds, have a look at the Shimansky selection online.
Princess Eugenie got engaged to wine merchant Jack Brooksbank in January 2018, where it was revealed they worked on her engagement ring together. The ring features an extremely rare and valuable oval, coral-colored padparadscha sapphire surrounded by diamonds. Padparadscha is usually found in Sri Lanka and the name is derived from a Sinhalese word for “aquatic lotus blossom”, and the color can range from salmon with a pinkish hue to an orange hue. They also tend to not be evenly colored; they can have color zones with pink and yellow hints around their salmon color. In keeping with her royal upbringing, her wedding ring that accompanies this rare ring, is the same simple band made from Welsh gold. You too can design your own engagement ring, by working with one of our master jewelers on a custom design that will be special to you for all time.
The Queen's daughter Princess Anne wore a sapphire set between two diamonds and gold following her engagement to Captain Mark Phillips in 1973. The couple eventually divorced in 1992, where she quickly remarried Timothy Laurence. The ring for this marriage was similar it also contained a sapphire, this time with a cabochon stone and three small diamonds on each side. This is a unique and special design that represents Princess Anne’s down-to-earth approach to life amongst the royals.
Camilla Parker Bowles
When Prince Charles remarried, this time to Camilla Parker Bowles, he gifted her a ring from his grandmother, the Queen Mother. The art deco design features a spectacular five-carat emerald-cut diamond in the center with three diamond baguettes on each side, which the Duchess has also paired with modest wedding band made from traditional Welsh gold. Though the ring wasn’t the Queen Mother’s engagement ring from King George VI, it is definitely a family heirloom. An emerald-cut diamond is another celebrity favorite, with Jennifer Lopez and Victoria Beckham both sporting emerald-cut diamond engagement rings even more impressive than the Duchess.
The Queen Mother
Before she became the Queen, and eventually the Queen Mother, Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon became engaged to The Duke of York, who gave her a sapphire engagement ring. The ring had diamond accents, and was, of course, complemented by a Welsh gold wedding band. Eventually, she updated her ring by swapping out the diamond engagement ring for a large pearl surrounded by diamonds.
When Prince Andrew proposed to Sarah Ferguson in 1985, he chose a gorgeous Burmese ruby, which was rumored to match her vibrant red hair. The red ruby was surrounded by 10 sparkling diamonds in a floral design and set in yellow gold. This is very similar in style to the beautiful floral design Katy Perry received from her fiancé Orlando Bloom. It can be a bit tricky to style your engagement ring, once you have to add the wedding band, but we have some help for you in a complete guide to styling your wedding jewelry.
Though she’s not technically a royal, Pippa Middleton’s ring is worthy of a mention. When James Matthews proposed in July 2016, he gave her a large, art deco-style diamond ring. The ring's center stone is an Asscher cut diamond that is estimated to be about three carats in size, and it is surrounded with an octagonal halo of smaller diamonds. When they wed, she paired it with a simple gold wedding band.
Whether you’re a royal or not, it is only natural to want a diamond ring fit for a princess. Shimansky has become the well-respected authority on diamonds, as well as wedding bands, so when you’re finally ready to get engaged and married, be sure to make an appointment to visit us for your personal consultation.