When you get engaged, often the first question you’ll be asked is, ‘what did the ring look like?’. The story behind your ring choice and the way you proposed (or were proposed to) are stories you’ll be reciting for the rest of your life. If you’re still choosing the perfect ring for your partner, you might be feeling a little bit of pressure to get it right. After all, the ring will be worn for many years to come and therefore should say something about the person wearing it.
For a touch of inspiration, we have put together our choice of the 10 most famous engagement rings in history. Perhaps some of these beauties will pave the way for your own ring design ideas!
Beyoncé & Jay-Z
An 18 carat emerald cut diamond sits on Beyoncé’s finger, given to her by her current husband, Jay-Z 11 years ago. Designed by Lorraine Schwartz with input from Jay-Z, it reportedly cost the couple 5 million dollars back in 2008. The ring itself is platinum, which feels appropriate considering Beyoncé herself has released six platinum selling albums. Unlike many other rings that will follow on this list, Beyoncé’s ring has never been altered or updated. Though looking at the ring itself it is clear to see why Beyoncé is more than happy to keep it as is.
Mia Farrow & Frank Sinatra
When Frank Sinatra proposed to Mia Farrow in 1966, he did so with a 9 carat pear shaped diamond. The ring itself was purchased from William Ruser, owner of Los Angeles jewellery shop Ruser known for being discreet with his clientele. Ever the romantic, Sinatra also gave Mia a Ruser bracelet to match the ring, sporting two rows of diamonds. The ring cost Frank around $85,000 back in 1966 and unfortunately outlasted their marriage which ended in 1968.
Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton
American-British actress Elizabeth Taylor received eight engagement rings in her life, but the ring she received from Richard Burton was far and away the largest. A 33 carat diamond ring initially called the ‘Krupp diamond’ was later renamed to the ‘Elizabeth Taylor diamond. The ring itself is so famous it actually has its own Wikipedia page. Richard bought the ring for $307,000 in 1968 at an auction and the ring was sold for nearly $9 million dollars at another auction following Elizabeth’s death in 2011.
Jacqueline Kennedy & John F Kennedy
In 1953 at a dinner in Parker’s Restaurant in Boston, John F. Kennedy gave Jacqueline the most unique ring on this list. A 2.84 carat emerald sat beside a 2.88 carat diamond. This one of a kind is currently worth $1.39 million after being remounted following the wedding to hold two more formal looking diamonds. Despite the tragedy that befell them, the ring remains a pure example of the love this couple shared. Today the ring is held in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston and is often available for viewing.
Marilyn Monroe & Joe DiMaggio
When Yankees Joe DiMaggio proposed to Marilyn Monroe he didn’t have Marilyn’s platinum eternity band holding 35 diamonds. He gave her the engagement ring at some point following their marriage, the truth of the matter is still not clear to this day. In 1999 the ring was sold for $772,500, missing one of the 35 diamonds, at an auction following Monroe’s death.
Audrey Hepburn & Mel Ferrer
Audrey Hepburn was famous for her style and beauty just as much as she was her films. So, it is no surprise that her engagement rings lives up to that reputation. Mel Ferrer gave her not one, not two but three engagement rings in 1954. The rings were white gold, rose gold and yellow gold, each with a small diamond. Though Audrey never wore the three things together, she would alternate between them, purportedly preferring the white and rose gold rings over the yellow gold one. The reason why was never made public, but it is most likely due to her sense of style.
Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Phillip
The Queen of England received a 3 carat solitaire diamond from Prince Phillip in 1947. This elegant ring is actually comprised of the diamonds from Prince Phillips mother’s tiara, that she was given on her wedding day. At the time Prince Phillip’s family didn’t have enough money to purchase a ring of equal quality themselves. This inspired sacrifice is still worn by Queen Elizabeth to this day and although the ring is estimated to be worth $257,000, its historical value is priceless. In a stroke of bad luck, it is reported that upon being proposed to, Queen Elizabeth was unable to fit the ring on her hand and had to resize it two days later.
Priscilla Ann Wagner & Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll gave Pricilla a 3.5 carat diamond ring adorned with 20 smaller diamonds. Purchased from Harry Levitch in Memphis, the ring as well as the upcoming marriage was kept a secret due to Elvis’s fame until after the ceremony. Though the couple eventually divorced after a rough 6 years of marriage, they remained civil.
Grace Kelly & Prince Rainier III
Grace Kelly, the princess of Monaco, received a 10.47 Cartier emerald cut diamond from Rainier III, the prince of Monaco. He proposed after a mere three days of romance with a more modest ring and bought this ring after noticing how Grace’s competition were anything but modest. Though both of the rings stood for the romance the couple shared. At the time the ring cost 4.06 million and was actually featured in the last movie Grace filmed, High Society. If the ring wasn’t famous enough, 30 million people saw it as they watched the lavish wedding of Grace Kelly to Prince Rainier III. Whilst the original cost of the ring is unknown, it is currently estimated at around $600,000, not bad for the ring of a genuine princess.
Princess Diana & Charles Prince of Wales and Kate Middleton & Prince William
Our final famous engagement ring is made that much more famous due to the two brides that have worn it. In 1981 Charles, Prince of Wales proposed to Princess Diana with a 12 carat blue sapphire ring on a white gold band that she chose for herself. As the ring was not custom made like the rest of our list, some frowned upon the choice, which may be part of the reason the couple kept their engagement secret for several weeks afterwards. Two years prior to their wedding, Diana had the ring adjusted to add six prongs, presumably to secure the sapphire in place.
The very same ring was used by her son Prince William to propose to Kate Middleton in 2010, extending the love the ring represented through to another generation. Both ladies wore the ring proudly and it has truly become an iconic piece of jewellery. At the time of purchase the ring was worth £28,000 and is now said to be worth around £300,000. But as with all of the other rings on our list, it’s value is historically priceless.
Find your perfect engagement ring
Finding the perfect engagement ring as special as the 10 above can be a challenge. We work closely with eight of the world’s leading diamond brokers and diamond dealers in order to provide you with the best quality diamonds for all budgets. Visit our website to find your perfect engagement ring today.