World Famous Gemstone Engagement Rings that Stand the Test of Time

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Today, when we think of an engagement ring, we typically imagine a 2-carat diamond. However, this wasn’t always the case. Royals, celebrities, and even first ladies have said “yes” with pieces featuring famous colored gemstones. Read on to marvel at some of the most famous engagement rings in modern history that look just as stunning today as they did then. You never know, you might even find some gemstone engagement ring inspiration!

Josephine Bonaparte (from Napoleon Bonaparte)

Josephine Bonaparte (born Marie Josèphe Rose Rascher de la Pagerie) was the love of Napoleon Bonaparte’s life. He wrote to her in the midst of his conquests, expressing his passionate love for her. In 1796, Napoleon proposed to Josephine with a beautiful ring featuring two teardrop gemstones in sapphire and diamond.

The two gemstones were intended to represent their two hearts joining together. However, Josephine ultimately proved unfaithful. Tragically, the marriage ended in divorce but Napoleon insisted that she keep the title of Empress (and presumably the famous gemstones as well) even after the marriage had ended.

Queen Victoria (from Prince Albert)

Alexandrina Victoria of Kent had already been crowned queen when she proposed to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburn and Gotha, and the couple subsequently married in 1840. Prince Albert graced Queen Victoria with a wrap-around serpent ring featuring a teardrop emerald, ruby eyes, and an accent diamond set in gold.

Although a serpent ring has never been a typical choice for engagement, serpent jewelry was very popular at the time Queen Victoria and Prince Albert became engaged. Inspired by famous gemstones and jewelry from the Greek and Roman empires, ladies from the European nobility would adorn themselves with snake-inspired brooches, necklaces, bracelets, and rings, and once Queen Victoria chose this style for her engagement, it shot the snake ring’s popularity to a fever pitch.

Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (from Prince Albert Frederick Arthur George)

Halo Milgrain Pave Oval Dhanya Blue Sapphire Ring

Lady Elizabeth Bowers-Lyon was the mother of Queen Elizabeth II and wife of King George VI. It is well known that the Duke of York had to propose three times before Elizabeth finally said “yes!” He slipped a beautiful oval halo sapphire and diamond engagement ring on her finger and she soon became the Duchess of York.

The oval halo style worn by the queen mother is still very popular today among those who love an antique aesthetic. Just like Queen Elizabeth’s ring, you can buy sapphire halo rings surrounded by diamonds today. Be sure to check out our antique engagement ring collection for designs similar to these famous gemstones.

Queen Elizabeth II (from Prince Philip)

Queen Elizabeth II’s engagement ring didn’t feature colored gems but it has a particularly beautiful story behind it. In 1946, Philip proposed to Elizabeth privately and in 1947 officially presented her with a diamond engagement ring. What made this ring so special is that it was crafted with famous gemstones taken from Philip’s mother’s tiara.

The center stone in this famous engagement ring is a 3-carat diamond. This diamond is flanked by ten smaller brilliant diamonds and set in an elegant band of platinum. It is rumored that the Queen has a habit of twisting this ring on her finger when she’s feeling tense. Be sure to watch her hands closely next time she’s on the news!

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (from JFK)

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was the leading lady of the United States from 1961 to 1963, and the piece that adorned her left ring finger has made it onto numerous lists of famous engagement rings.

As the story goes, Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy met at a dinner party when Jacqueline was working for the Washington Herald, and the couple married approximately two years later. JFK proposed to Jacqueline with a gold ring featuring a 2.84-carat emerald and 2.87-carat diamond, along with smaller marquise leaf-like diamond accents. They had two children together and enjoyed life in the spotlight until JFK was assassinated in 1963.

Diana Spencer (from Prince Charles) and Kate Middleton (from Prince William)

Perhaps the most famous of engagement rings in recent history is the sapphire ring that first belonged to Diana Spencer (the Princess of Wales) and now to Kate Middleton (the Duchess of Cambridge). The famous gemstones on this stunning ring include a 12-carat oval Ceylon sapphire surrounded by 14 brilliant round diamonds. The gems are set in a band of 18-karat white gold.

Diana and Charles’ marriage was unfortunately not meant to last, and the couple eventually divorced. However, the ring (passed down to Prince William) has enjoyed a happy ending as the seal of Kate and William’s love story and a reminder of Prince Wiliam’s close connection to his mother, who he wanted to include on his wedding day.

Order a Ring Worthy of Passing Down at AZEERA

As we’ve seen, a single engagement ring can go down in history as a fashion icon or a family heirloom. And, perhaps surprisingly, many of the famous gemstones in history have featured colored gemstones as well as diamonds.

At AZEERA, we create one-of-a-kind engagement rings, wedding rings, and cufflinks that bring out the beauty of colored gemstones — all sourced ethically and cut to perfection. Are you interested in a particular engagement ring design or one inspired by famous gemstones? Schedule a callback with our founders to craft your sparkling engagement masterpiece!

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