The oval sapphire surrounded by round brilliant cut diamonds that Prince Charles gave to Lady Diana Spencer upon their engagement is of course famous and historically significant. Interestingly, it was not custom designed; Diana picked it from a selection presented to her. One rumour says she chose it because it was the largest.
I have to say I cringed when I heard that Prince William used it to propose to Kate Middleton. As gorgeous as the ring is, it also seems to me to carry the weight of bad history, given his parents’ turbulent marriage and the subsequent tragic events that followed. I can see that he would have wanted his mother to be part of his big day, even if only in spirit, but perhaps using the stone as a pendant, and giving Middleton her own ring to cherish, might have been a smarter idea.
As for the ring, there were a rash of copies made immediately after the Charles/Diana engagement, and this time around, it’s no different. The original ring was sold by British jeweller Garrard and sold at the time for the equivalent of about USD $65,000, and was an 18 karat oval sapphire surrounded by diamonds. Although diamonds are a relatively recent trend in engagement rings, they only became popular around the turn of the 20th century. Up until then, various different style rings were used and coloured stones were often set into them.
If you love the look of Diana’s ring, its reemergence on Kate’s finger means that should you like this style, there are a lot of options. Want to opt for the design but not the price tag? Emitations has one in rhodium plated sterling, with a slightly different mount, glass centre stone and cubic zirconia accents for USD $63.00
Blue Nile offers this sapphire and diamond version, with a diamond halo pave setting, for Cdn $6,120.