29 May 2016

Kate's Jewelry Box: The Sapphire and Diamond Engagement Ring

The Duchess of Cambridge wears her engagement ring (Photo: BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

When Prince William announced his engagement to Kate Middleton in November 2010, his new bride-to-be emerged wearing a very familiar piece of jewelry: the sapphire and diamond cluster engagement ring that had belonged to his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.

Photo: Arthur Edwards - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The ring's central feature is the faceted oval Ceylon sapphire that dominates the piece. Estimates of the sapphire's carat size range from 9 to 12 carats. It is surrounded by 14 round diamonds. The ring is made of white gold.

Photo: Arthur Edwards - WPA Pool/Getty Images

When Prince Charles proposed to Diana in 1981, he presented her with a selection of engagement rings from Garrard (then the crown jeweler) and let her choose her favorite from among them. Because the ring was a stock item, not a special order, we know how much it cost: £28,500.

Photo: JOHNNY EGGITT/AFP/Getty Images

Diana wore the ring throughout her marriage; above, she wears it in 1995. After her death, William and Harry retained a few of her possessions, including the ring. They reportedly made a deal: whichever brother got engaged first would give the ring to his fiancée.

Photo: SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images

During his engagement interview, William discussed the ring: "It’s very special to me. As Kate’s very special to me now, it was right to put the two together. It was my way of making sure my mother didn’t miss out on today, and the excitement, and the fact that we’re going to spend the rest of our lives together." Kate has worn the ring regularly since the engagement, supplementing it first with her Welsh gold wedding ring and then with a diamond eternity band.