Princess Diana's Sapphire Engagement Ring: A Symbol of Love, History, and Elegance

Princess Diana's Sapphire Engagement Ring: A Symbol of Love, History, and Elegance

When one thinks of royal jewelry, few pieces hold the same historical significance and emotional resonance as Princess Diana's engagement ring. A stunning 12-carat oval blue Ceylon sapphire surrounded by 14 solitaire diamonds and set in 18-karat white gold, the ring was selected by Diana herself upon her engagement to Prince Charles. Since then, it has not only represented a poignant piece of British royal history but also signified the evolution of contemporary royal engagement rings.


Engagement to Prince Charles: A Fairy Tale Begins

Princess Diana with Prince Charles

Princess Diana with Prince Charles // Getty


The story of Princess Diana's engagement to Prince Charles began with a whirlwind romance that captured the hearts and imaginations of people around the world. Charles and Diana first met in 1977 when Charles was dating Diana's sister, Lady Sarah. They began their own relationship in 1980, and by February 1981, their engagement was announced.

Choosing an engagement ring for a royal marriage is an extraordinary task. Rather than having a custom ring created, Diana was presented with a selection of rings by the Crown jeweler, Garrard. Among the available choices, Diana's eyes were drawn to the magnificent sapphire creation, a decision that resonated with her love for the color blue.


The Ring's Specifications

Princess Diana Engagement Ring

Princess Diana's Engagement Ring Close Up // AP / Arthur Edwards,


The 12-carat blue Ceylon sapphire at the center of Diana's ring is noteworthy for its exceptional quality. Sourced from Sri Lanka, Ceylon sapphires are renowned for their luminous deep-blue hue, and this particular stone was no exception. The choice of sapphire over a more traditional diamond was considered unconventional at the time but has since set a trend for engagement rings worldwide.

The setting of the ring is equally exquisite, with the sapphire ensconced within a cluster of 14 solitaire diamonds, meticulously arranged in a design that evokes timelessness and elegance. The 18-karat white gold band added a final touch of understated luxury.


Choice Controversy

What may have upset the royal family the most was Princess Diana's decision to select her own engagement ring. Rather than choosing something custom-made and unique to the royal lineage, she decided to follow her own path and chose this particular ring. As many are likely aware, the royal family holds certain traditions dear. Princess Diana's choice to depart from these traditions did not sit well with the royal family, leaving them unimpressed, especially as anyone else with $60,000 could have purchased the same ring.


Diana's love of the Ring

Princess Diana wearing her Engagement Ring

Princess Diana wearing her Engageent Ring // Getty


Despite the controversy associated with the ring, there was no doubt that Princess Diana was enamored with it. Her love for this striking sapphire ring was so profound that she continued to wear it even after her official separation. Why did this ring hold such a special place in her heart? There are numerous theories, but all are merely conjectural. Some suggest that she wore it out of sentimentality, as it reminded her of her mother's engagement ring. Others believe she was drawn to the ring's deep blue color that matched her eyes, while still others assert that she chose it because it featured the largest sapphire stone in the collection. Regardless of the reason, one thing is certain: Princess Diana's affection for this ring was undeniable, and had she been given the opportunity, she would likely have chosen it again.


Historical Significance and Value

The ring's estimated value at the time of the engagement was around £28,000 ($60,000), a substantial sum for that period. However, its current worth is believed to be in excess of £300,000 ($400,000), owing not only to the inherent value of the gemstones and precious metals but also to its historical significance.

Princess Diana's engagement ring has played a symbolic role in British royal history, signifying a modern and accessible approach to royal life. Diana's decision to choose from a selection available to the public, rather than commissioning a unique piece, reflected her wish to connect with ordinary people and set a precedent for the future royal engagements.


Who Owns the Ring Now?

Kate Middleton wearing Princess Diana's Engagement Ring

Catherine, now Princess of Wales, wearing Princess Diana's Engagement Ring // Getty


Following Diana's tragic death in 1997, her iconic ring was passed down to her sons, Princes William and Harry. Princess Diana's will designated her sons as custodians of her jewelry collection, to be passed on to their wives. Prince Harry received his mother's engagement ring, while William got a Cartier watch that belonged to her. Several years later, Harry gave the ring to his brother for his proposal to Kate, transferring it from Prince Harry to Prince William, and then to Kate.

In a touching tribute to his late mother, in 2010, Prince William used this ring to propose to his girlfriend Kate Middleton in Kenya, carrying it everywhere due to its priceless significance. By November that year, they announced their engagement, with Kate showcasing the 12-carat ring. Prince William chose this particular ring for the proposal to symbolize his mother's presence on their special moment.

Kate has made slight adjustments to the beautiful sapphire ring after finding it too large for her ring finger. To achieve a better fit, she added tiny platinum beads inside the ring, creating a snug fit. Since that modification, the ring has remained on her finger.

The ring has since become one of the most recognizable engagement rings in the world, further solidifying its status as a symbol of love, grace, and the continuation of royal tradition. Its presence on the hand of the Princess of Wales ensures that Diana's legacy continues to shine, both as a historical artifact and a cherished family heirloom.



Kate Middleton wearing Princess Diana's Engagement Ring

Catherine, now Princess of Wales, wearing Princess Diana's Engagement Ring // Getty


Princess Diana's sapphire engagement ring represents more than a beautiful piece of jewelry. Its mesmerizing blue stone, exceptional craftsmanship, and intrinsic value are complemented by a history that intertwines love, royalty, and tradition.

From Diana's choice of the ring as a young woman about to embark on life as a royal, to its present home with the Duchess of Cambridge, the ring's journey mirrors the evolution of the British royal family itself. Its beauty and significance continue to captivate, offering a tangible connection to a fairy tale story that captured the hearts of people all over the globe.

With each glance at this magnificent sapphire ring, one is reminded of the love story it symbolized, the charismatic princess who wore it, and the enduring legacy that it carries forward. It remains an eternal symbol of royalty, elegance, and romance in the annals of history.


See more Eagle and Pearl articles >

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published


All available stock is in the cart

Your cart is currently empty.