This week marked 25 years since the passing of Princess Diana, a milestone anniversary that serves to remind us all of just how iconic and inspirational she had become. With Netflix shows continuing to document her life and untimely death in Paris, her legacy continues to transfer to generations beyond her lifetime.
Lady Diana Frances Spencer was born on 1 July 1961, in Norfolk, England. The third of four children to the 8th Earl Spencer and his then-wife, Frances, Lady Diana reportedly developed a love of and talent for music and dancing.
After a whirlwind courtship, Lady Diana married Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, on 29 July 1981, in one of the most-watched events in royal history. At the tender age of 20, Lady Diana walked the aisle of St. Pauls Cathedral wearing an Elizabeth and David Emmanuel silk taffeta dress with a 25-foot train that enveloped the floor. The memories are everlasting.
Her betrothal to Charles also brought an iconic engagement ring moment.
Diana arguably owned the most famous engagement ring in modern history. The 12-carat oval Ceylon sapphire, is surrounded by a cluster of 14 solitaire diamonds and set in 18 carat white gold, and was chosen by Diana from a selection at Garrard jewellers in 1981. According to The Court Jeweller, it would have cost approximately £28,500 at the time, which would make it worth £123,000 today.
Ceylon sapphires are some of the most beautiful stones in the world and are mined in many locations like Kashmir, Burma, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Australia, the United States, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Kenya, and Tanzania. However, the three locations most famously known for their high-quality Sapphires are Kashmir, Burma, and Sri Lanka. Kashmir mined stones are considered the rarest and most valuable, due to the fact that the mining was active for only about 40 years (between1880 and 1920).
Unconventionally, the ring bore no royal stones and wasn’t a private commission. That celebrated twelve-carat oval Ceylon sapphire surrounded by fourteen solitaire diamonds was a catalogue item. The ring was a ready-to-propose, in the window engagement ring. And yet, it became a symbol of history.
This elegant and impacting coloured centre-stone design shaped engagement ring choices of her time, and beyond. The ring style saw strong resurgence when her son William, presented Diana's ring to the now Duchess of Cambridge when he proposed to her in 2010. We’ve also included the style within our new pret-a-porter, ‘Keepers Collection’ of engagement rings, offering wearers a choice of inner stone to meet their individual taste and budget.
So as the week draws to a close, and her memories continue to be shared, we thank you, Lady Diana, for your contribution to engagement jewellery history, albeit likely unintended…