[intro]The Duchess of Cambridge, formally Catherine Middleton, married HRH Prince William on April 29th 2011. Their engagement had been announced the proceeding year on November 16th 2010 following the Prince’s Kenyan proposal in the October.
Famously the Prince chose his late mother’s engagement ring for his bride-to-be; a gorgeous diamond set sapphire formally worn by Princess Diana. [/intro]
History Behind The Duchess of Cambridge’s Engagement Ring
It is believed that Princess Diana chose the ring herself when presented with a selection. At the time the soon to be Princess received some criticism for choosing a ring that anyone could buy, rather than a custom-made piece. Lady Diana even wore the famous sapphire after her divorce to HRH Prince Charles and it is said that on her death the ring passed to her younger son HRH Prince Harry. Deciding that in honour of his mother, it was fitting that the ring should be worn by the future Queen of England, Prince Harry later gifted it to his brother Prince William.
The Humble Sapphire
The media frenzy surrounding both public engagements lead to a considerable surge in the sapphire market, however sapphires have long been prized throughout history as stones for the nobility, with magical properties:
- Legend has it that Helen of Troy owned a stunning star sapphire believed to be the key to her desirability.
- The Seal of Solomon, thought to grant Kind Solomon the power to command demons and commune with the animals was said to be an inscribed sapphire. According to myth, King Solomon used a magic sapphire to seduce the Queen of Sheba.
- Charlemagne owned a sacred amulet featuring a prise sapphire, which he believed to be symbols of heaven. Interred with the ruler at his death, the amulet was excavated 200 years later by Otto III and later passed to Empress Josephine, who wore it at her coronation in 1804.
Symbol of love and purity
Although diamond engagement rings are considered traditional, the Duchess of Cambridge is far from the only British Royal to be adorned by a sapphire engagement ring. Contemporarily believed to represent love and purity, as well as the Princess of Wales and Duchess of Cambridge, sapphire engagement rings have also been received by:
- The Queen Mother
- Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent
- Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester
- Princess Alexandra of Kent
- Princess Anne, Duchess of Kent
- Princess Michael of Kent
Royalty it seems are not the only admirers of this precious stone. Famous stars of stage and screen known to own and wear significant pieces of sapphire jewellery include:
- Mary Pickford
- Jean Harlow
- Joan Crawford
- Elizabeth Taylor
Looking after your sapphire
Sapphires have certainly enjoyed a boost in popularity since the Royal engagement in 2010, with many couples choosing alternative precious gems to diamonds to mark their commitment to each other. Gemstones are not necessarily the cheaper option though; the Duchess of Cambridge engagement ring was made up of 18 carat oval sapphire, surrounded by diamonds was thought to be worth approximately £30,000 when the late Princess Diana choose it in 1981. Today the sapphire alone is estimated at £150,000, and the ring itself around £250,000 – that is of course if it wasn’t completely priceless given its remarkable provenance.
Whether your engagement ring is a priceless sapphire or elegant diamond, it is important to get it checked routinely for any damage or loose claws. If it is of significant value, regular valuations every 3 to 5 years are also advisable, alongside comprehensive insurance cover.
Looking For Insurance For Your Engagement Ring?
If you are thinking of insuring your engagement ring, then make sure that you have adequate cover. If your ring is of higher value, then perhaps a high value home contents insurance policy is in order. Contact Highworth Insurance to discuss your requirements on 0844 225 4025.