‘Commoner’s Sapphire!’ Princess Diana broke Queen and Margaret’s tradition with jewellery
Princess Diana friends 'really upset' over royal's portrayal '
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Princess Diana broke royal tradition ahead of her iconic wedding to Prince Charles in 1981, after choosing an engagement ring that was not specially designed for her. Historically, royal brides would have their wedding jewellery custom made for them, to ensure the pieces were completely unique and could not be found on the high street. For example, the Queen’s engagement ring was created by Prince Philip using diamonds from a tiara owned by his mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg.
Meanwhile, Princess Margaret’s ruby ring was designed by her fiancé, Antony Armstrong-Jones.
The Princess of Wales, however, decided to change things up by selecting a ring that could technically be worn by anybody, as long as they could afford it.
The Spencer heiress’s sapphire blue engagement ring was designed by Garrard, a luxury jeweller based in Mayfair, London.
Believed to be inspired by the blue bridal brooch worn by Queen Victoria on her wedding day to Prince Albert, the stunning accessory boasted a 12-carat oval sapphire encrusted by 14 round diamonds and cost a whopping £47,000 at the time.
Princess Diana also re-designed the engagement ring slightly, with some insiders speculating the tweaking was simply for resizing purposes.
While the ring was made by Garrard for Diana, it was also featured as a product in the company’s catalogue.
As such, it became available to buy by very rich members of the public.
The newspapers at the time did not hold back with their criticism of the ring, with many tabloids labelling it as the “Commoner’s Sapphire”.
Despite this negative press, the style would become incredibly popular with brides-to-be in both the UK and abroad.
Today, the most famous piece of Princess Diana’s jewellery resides on the finger of her daughter-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge.
Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton with the ring in Kenya in October 2010, seven months before they tied the knot at Westminster Abbey.
It’s understood that Kate, like Diana, also had the ring resized for optimal fit.
Jewellery experts at Angelic Diamond’s previously spoke to Express.co.uk about the most popular royal engagement rings.
They said: “Kate Middleton’s engagement ring, worth an incredible £400,000, is the most expensive engagement ring belonging to the Royal Family, as well as the most popular with the public amassing an incredible 9,120 searches a month.
“Kate’s engagement ring, formally owned by the late Princess Diana and inspired by a brooch that has been passed through the family, is a 12-carat oval sapphire surrounded by a halo of 14 solitaire diamonds.
“Sapphires are a favourite of the royals thanks to the belief that they protect from harm, negative energies, and bad spirits, as well as being an apparent antidote for poison.
“Interestingly, Princess Diana’s engagement ring belonged to Prince Harry when she passed, however, the two Princes agreed that whoever proposed first would get the ring, leading to Prince William giving the ring to Kate in November 2010.
“The ring isn’t the most expensive piece of jewellery linked to Kate Middleton’s marriage to Prince William.
“The study also looked at some of the most iconic pieces of jewellery owned by the family, finding that the Cartier Halo tiara worn by Kate for her wedding is worth an incredible £1.6million.
“Featuring 739 brilliant-cut diamonds, 149 baguette diamonds and being worth 100 carats, it’s no surprise this piece comes with a hefty price tag.”
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