The Little-Known Story Behind Kate Middleton’s Engagement Ring
“Seven years ago, in a rustic cabin at the foot of Mt. Kenya, Prince William pulled something out of a knapsack. He’d traveled around Africa with it for weeks, nervous as hell, because “I knew if this thing disappeared, I’d be in a lot of trouble.” After all, it was a 12-carat sapphire-and–diamond cluster ring valued at more than $500,000, and he was about to propose with it to the love of his life, Kate Middleton.
The Duchess of Cambridge’s engagement ring is described as stunning, gorgeous, and the used-and-abused iconic. There are thousands of different knockoffs and replicas available for purchase on the Internet alone (some are more than $1,000, several fall in the $10,000 range, and there’s even one going for more than $1 million). Yet, despite its place in royal lore, most only know part of its backstory, if they know anything at all.
The origins of the ring go back to the mid-19th century. In 1840 Prince Albert commissioned British jeweler Garrard to create a blue sapphire–and-diamond brooch—sound familiar?—as a present for his soon-to-be-bride, Queen Victoria. “She found she loved it so much that she decided to wear it on her wedding day as her something blue on the front of her dress,” Sara Prentice, Garrard’s current creative director, tells Vogue.
As her 63-year reign trudged on, Queen Victoria amassed a grand collection of jewels: rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets, of emeralds, sapphires, opals, more sapphires (Albert, says Prentice, had a particular fondness for the blue stone). But time and time again she returned to the sapphire brooch, wearing it up until her “dearest Albert[’s]” death in 1861.
In her will, she made the brooch a Crown heirloom, meaning it will always belong to the reigning monarch.......” (more in: Vouge.com)
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