With both Meghan Markle and Prince Harry and Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank engaged, we’re being treated to not one, but TWO royal weddings this year.
Meghan and Harry announced their engagement in November last year, while Eugenie revealed Jack had popped the question earlier this week.
And with any royal engagement comes a royal engagement ring.
As soon as pictures of Meghan and Eugenie’s rings emerged, royal fans were clambering to know what precious stones were used, who designed them and how much they are worth.
Royal engagement rings have always captured the public’s fascination – from the Queen’s custom-made rock featuring diamonds from Prince Philip’s mother’s tiara to Diana, Princess of Wales’ sapphire design, which is the only ring in this collection not to have been custom-made.
So of the leading ladies in the royal family, who is wearing the most expensive cluster of precious diamonds on their left hand – from the Queen’s ring which she has been wearing for an impressive 71 years to Eugenie’s, which she hasn’t even been wearing for one week?
With the help of Gemologist Deborah Papas from Prestige Pawnbrokers, which features on Channel 4’s Posh Pawn, we reveal which royal lady has the most valuable of all of the royal rings…
QUEEN ELIZABETH II
Prince Philip designed Queen Elizabeth’s ring himself, with the help of jeweler Philip Antrobus Ltd. It was made in London and features a 3ct ‘old cut’ diamond set in a traditional claw setting in platinum. It has five smaller diamonds on each shoulder.
Prince Philip used diamonds taken from a tiara belonging to his mother, Princess Alice of Greece, for the ring.
Deborah Papas estimates: ‘Queen Elizabeth’s engagement ring stays away from the coloured gemstones that future generations have.
‘Her majesty’s ring is more likely to be in the price bracket of £200,000.’
Engagement announcement: Thursday 10 July 1947
Marriage: Thursday 20 November 1947
DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES & CATHERINE, DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE
Prince Charles gifted Diana, Princess Of Wales a stunning sapphire engagement ring. So stunning, in fact, Prince William went on to propose to Kate Middleton with that very same ring following Diana’s tragic death in 1997.
Created by royal jeweler Garrard & Co Ltd, the ring features 14 solitaire diamonds which surround a Sri Lankan 12-carat oval faceted blue Ceylon sapphire. It is set in 18-karat white gold.
Interestingly, Diana and Kate’s ring was not custom-made like all of the other royal rings featuring in the list.
It actually featured in Gerrard’s jewellery collection, available for anyone to buy at the time of Diana’s proposal. Diana had apparently chosen it as she thought it was a beautiful ring and some historians believe it reminded her of her mother, frances shand kydd, own ring.
It is sometimes referred to as the ‘Commoner’s Sapphire’ for this reason.
Deborah Papas estimates: ‘Coloured gemstones are becoming more popular again. They had their boom in the early eighties when Prince Charles and the then Lady Diana Spencer became engaged.
‘The ring renewed a sales boom in sapphire and diamond rings in 2010 when the royal couple became engaged.
‘The ring worn in memory of Prince William’s mother, was originally valued at £28,000 in 1981; today the ring is estimated to have an insurance value of approximately £300,000.’
Of course when the history and sentiment behind Diana’s ring is considered, its value is simply priceless.
Diana and Charles’ engagement announcement: Tuesday 24 February 1981
Diana and Charles’ marriage: Wednesday 29 July 1981
Kate and William’s engagement announcement: Tuesday 16 November 2010
Kate and William’s marriage: Friday 29 April 2011
SARAH, DUCHESS OF YORK
When Prince Andrew proposed to Sarah Ferguson in March 1986, he did so with a stunning deep red Burmese ruby stone, which was surrounded by 10 pear cut diamonds and sits on a yellow gold band.
Also created by Garrard & Co, it was designed by Prince Andrew himself. He is believed to have selected the ruby to complement Sarah’s red hair.
Deborah Papas estimates: ‘Burmese rubies are considered to have the best colour and are often referred to as ‘Pigeon’s Blood’.
‘At the time, it was reported the ruby alone cost Prince Andrew £25,000. Today the whole ring could be worth between £150,000 – £200,000 and given the fineness of the ruby, possibly a lot more!’
Engagement announcement: Wednesday 19 March 1986
Marriage: Wednesday 23 July 1986
Prince Harry designed Meghan Markle’s engagement ring himself, using diamonds which belonged to his mother Diana, Princess of Wales.
There are two brilliant cut outside stones of around 0.75ct each which came from the late princess’ personal collection. At the centre of the ring is a large, cushion cut diamond of around 3.5cts from Botswana, a country that holds special significance for Harry, who has visited many times since he was a child.
It is also a place where the couple had spent time together over the last year and a half, Kensington Palace said.
Like his grandfather, Harry opted against using a coloured gemstone in Meghan’s engagement ring.
Jeweler Cleave And Company created Meghan’s stunning three-stone engagement ring with Harry. And they vowed they won’t be making the same style for anyone else, saying in the aftermath of Harry and Meghan’s engagement: ‘We’re not going to be making replicas of it. If you want a ring, then we’ll design you a different one.’
Deborah Papas estimates: ‘Depending on the quality, it could easily be valued as high as £250,000.’
While a monetary value can be estimated by gemologists, as with all of the royal engagement rings – considering the history and the owners of the stunning pieces – their real value is surely priceless.
Engagement announcement: Monday 27 November 2017
Marriage: Saturday 19 May 2018
Princess Eugenie’s ring features a padparadscha sapphire which is surrounded by 10 brilliant cut diamonds and two pear cut diamonds, to give it an edge to the standard cluster.
Padparadscha is the name given to the corundum gem that bears a mixture of red and yellow, a sort of cross between a ruby and yellow sapphire.
This beautiful gem is sought-after and treasured by gemstone experts, considered the rarest and most valuable of all the corundum varieties.
Deborah Papas estimates: ‘With its carefully faceted cut and the set off with the whitest of white diamonds, this ring could easily be worth over £100,000.’
Engagement announcement: Monday 22 January 2018
Marriage: Autumn 2018 – Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank are yet to confirm their wedding date.
Which royal has the priciest ring? – A ranking
Princess Eugenie – £100,000
Sarah, Duchess Of York – £150,000 – £200,000
Queen Elizabeth II – £200,000
Meghan Markle – £250,000
Diana, Princess of Wales & Catherine, Duchess Of Cambridge – £300,000