A designer diamond engagement ring is an unforgettable addition to any woman’s life. We love our pieces for the thought, love and shared journey that went into buying them and what they represent to us. But every now and again a celebrity engagement gives us a glimpse of unique and rare diamonds that we ordinarily wouldn't see, and we realize that there are diamonds – and then there are DIAMONDS!
Let’s take a closer look at the best celebrity diamonds in history and the gems that hit the spotlight. These memorable pieces shaped engagement ring fashions, gave us a glimpse into the tastes of the famous faces that wore them and even inspired our own choices.
The Biggest and Boldest
She cemented her name as an iconic actress with roles as Cleopatra and a couple of Oscar awards. But Elizabeth Taylor's jewelry collection also brought her worldwide fame. Her engagement ring from Richard Burton in 1968 featured a colorless, Asscher Cut diamond with VS1 clarity weighed 6.638g and scored a whopping 33.19 carats. Burton presented Liz with the $300,000 stone on their yacht, and she went on to regularly wear it on set. Hence, it became synonymous with the violet-eyed star.
It was one of her favorite pieces, and she once said this: ‘When I look into it, the deep Asscher cuts-which are so complete and ravishing-are like steps that lead into eternity and beyond. With its sparks of red and white and blue and purple, and on and on, really, it sort of hums with its own beatific life. To me, the Krupp says, “I want to share my chemistry-my magic-with you.”
But it was what became known as the Taylor-Burton diamond that would have broken the Internet if it had existed back in 1969. Burton bought the pear-shaped 69.68-carat pear-shaped diamond at auction for over $1 million. The G-color, colorless stone has a clarity grade of VS2 and was set in a ring setting when it went up for sale.
Taylor declared it was too big for a ring and commissioned Cartier to redesign it as part of a necklace, which she wore to the Oscars in 1970. The gem has a particularly beautiful legacy. After the couple's divorce in 1978, Liz sold the diamond to fund a hospital in Botswana.
Fit for a Princess
Long before we gushed over Princess Diana or Meghan Markle’s engagement ring, Princess Grace of Monaco’s ring captured the hearts of women around the world. After a whirlwind (and mostly long-distance romance), Prince Rainier III proposed with an exquisite platinum ring with a 10.47carat emerald-cut diamond flanked by two baguettes.
The Princess Grace engagement ring instantly took Kelly from Hollywood royalty to literal royalty. She wore it in her final movie, High Society, where she co-starred with Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra.
Beautiful in its own right, the ring didn’t compete with other ‘celebrity’ rings of the 1950s but earned its place in history for the romantic Hollywood-to-royalty love story it represented. It was not the Prince's first choice. He had bought Grace an eternity ring of rubies and diamonds. When he hit Hollywood to propose decided his leading lady needed a ring more fitting for the star.
Their 1956 wedding was estimated to have been watched by more than 30 million people. The reception was attended by 600 guests including some of Hollywood's biggest names, and the wedding cake was a six-tier creation that replication Monaco’s pink palace in sugar. It’s safe to say they went big!
The royal engagement ring is still in the family’s collection but is loaned out for exhibitions from time-to-time.
The American Icon
When John F. Kennedy proposed to Jacqueline Bouvier in 1953, the socialite had already earned a name as a fashionista with impeccable and boundary-pushing style. Jackie Kennedy’s engagement ring instantly caught the imagination of the public. The ring featured a tapered baguette 2.84-carat emerald next to a 2.88-carat diamond with an unusual diamond open-halo setting.
The emerald-diamond choice became a much-copied design for brides in the 1950s. Art deco, vintage designs inspired Jackie's ring. In 1963 the engagement ring was redesigned, and a further 2.12 carats of marquise and round cut diamonds were added. This was a groundbreaking step at the time when updating engagement jewelry wasn't something people considered.
While the edgy iconic ring went down in history as one of the most beautiful celebrity diamond rings of all time, Jackie's subsequent engagement ring outshone it. After John's assassination, she remarried Aristotle Onassis in 1968.
The Jackie Kennedy Onassis “Lesotho III” diamond engagement ring given to her by the wealthy shipping magnate was a 40.42-carat weight diamond ring. It was cut from the extremely rare 601 carat South African Lesotho brown diamond. The L color, marquise cut, VS2 clarity diamond was one of 18 diamonds cut from the original stone. She unfortunately rarely wore it because it was stored in a bank vault soon after they married. It fetched $2.5 million in 1996 when it Sotheby’s auctioned it.
The Eternal Treasure
The size of a diamond doesn't determine if a ring enters the hall of fame of engagement rings, as proved by Marilyn Monroe. Known for her bombshell blonde hair, curves and irresistible charm it surprised her fans when she chose to wear an understated diamond engagement ring.
The baguette-cut diamond eternity band, racking up 36 stones in total, was given to her by baseball star Joe DiMaggio when they became engaged in 1954.
Eternity rings have remained favorites with engaged couples over the decades since but are experiencing a revival today. With the rise of the trend for ‘stacking’ engagement rings, eternity rings have made a bit of a comeback.
We’re seeing eternity bands being worn on either side of single-stone diamond rings. Three rings have to be better than one, but the upside is that it gives the owner flexibility to dress their engagement ring look up or down to suit an occasion. Marilyn would have loved the look!
Sadly, the ring found its way to auction after the actresses' death – missing one diamond. It was sold for more than $700 000 in 2011.
With five attention-grabbing diamond engagement rings behind her, actress/singer Jennifer Lopez’s collection will go down in history. Each of her rings has made headlines in its own right. Jen has fabulous taste in fine jewelry, with an eye for unique styles and stones that many say have trailblazed new trends in engagement rings once she chose to wear them.
She currently sports an emerald cut diamond, estimated to be between 10 and 15 carats from Alex Rodriguez. But the most celebrated Jennifer Lopez engagement ring is the 6.10 carat radiant-cut pink diamond with white diamond side accents she scored from Ben Affleck in 2002. It sparked a trend for fancy colored diamonds. Blake Lively wears a pink diamond engagement ring, as does Anna Kournikova.
Jen followed this with a ring from singer Marc Anthony in 2004, who gifted her a 14-carat blue diamond for an anniversary gift, worth over $4 million. The more intense the color of a fancy-colored diamond, the rarer it is, and consequently more valuable. Guess we could call Jen a ring influencer?
Find Your Celebrity Ring-spiration
Choosing an engagement ring with your partner can be daunting. Researching the cuts, styles, and metals of celebrity engagement rings can be a good starting point for inspiration.
Shimansky has a breath-taking selection of diamond engagement rings, with many cuts to choose from. These include the patented My Girl diamond cut and the Brilliant 10 diamond, considered to be the most brilliant cut diamond in the world. We also work with clients on unique pieces based on your taste and lifestyle. We invite you to visit your nearest Shimansky showroom or book a consultation with a Shimansky expert.