Glittering Icons of True Romance
From Grace Kelly to Kim Kardashian, our wedding expert Rebecca Foster takes a look at some of the most iconic celebrity engagement rings of the last 50 years.
A tradition that can be traced back to the ancient Egyptian times, engagement rings were adopted by the Greeks and even the Romans as a symbol of betrothal. It was once thought that rings were worn on the fourth finger of the left hand over a vein that led directly to the heart.
The production of diamond engagement rings became a trend amongst Victorian aristocracy in England during the 1800s, while less affluent lovers selected simple silver bands to signify their promise of lifelong fidelity. Nowadays, engagement rings remain a symbol of commitment and often (in the case of the rich and famous) also a fashion statement.
Below are some of the most memorable sparklers from the last 50 years…
Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend
Elizabeth Taylor owned one of the most valuable jewellery collections of modern times, from bespoke Cartier creations to historical pieces like the “La Peregrina” pearl. In 1968, Taylor acquired perhaps her most iconic and memorable piece of jewellery – a 33-carat Krupp diamond that was given to her by her fourth husband, Richard Burton. While her marriage to Burton did not last, Taylor continued to wear this fabulous piece of jewellery in many of her post 1968 films, and even as late as 2003 for a CNN interview.
Fit for a Princess
Now worn by the Duchess of Cambridge, the oval blue sapphire ring with 14 diamonds originally adorned the left hand of Lady Diana Spencer. Diana chose the ring from the catalogue at Garrard of Mayfair, and it sparked a whole trend of sapphire lookalikes. While the ring originally cost £28,500 (US$48,000), it was valued at £250,000 (US$420, 462) after Diana was tragically killed, purely because of its royal connection. “It was my way of making sure my mother didn’t miss out on today and the excitement, and the fact that we’re going to spend the rest of our lives together,” said Prince William after the announcement of his engagement to Middleton.
Grace Kelly, who married Prince Rainier II of Monaco in 1956, is one of the 20th Century’s eternal style icons. Cartier recreated many of her favourite jewels for “Grace of Monaco”, the upcoming movie starring Nicole Kidman. Kelly’s love to Rainer was sealed with a 10.47 carat emerald-cut diamond Cartier ring just three days after the pair met, and she gave up her career as a successful Hollywood actress to tie the knot with Rainier. The Princess was showered with many more Cartier jewels throughout her life. Little surprise then that the famed jewellery maker was asked to recreate some of her most stunning pieces for the film.
Alongside Grace Kelly, Jaqueline Kennedy is undoubtedly another of the last century’s leading fashion figures. Former US president John F Kennedy proposed to Jaqueline in June 1953 with a custom made emerald and diamond ring designed by Van Cleef & Arpels. The ring features a unique crossover design with a 2.84 carat emerald and cut diamond accents. Despite replacing the ring’s baguettes with marquis during her marriage, the First Lady had the ring restored to its original style after JFK’s tragic death in 1963.
Keeping up with the Carats
While Kim Kardashian may not yet have secured her place in the same hall of fames as the likes of Jackie Kennedy and Grace Kelly; she is undoubtedly one of the most influential celebrities to be photographed today. Rapper Kanye West famously proposed to Kardashian on her birthday in front of thousands of people at a baseball game. The dazzling 15-carat diamond he presented to Kim set the fiery star back a casual US$1.25 million. Kimye are set to tie the knot at the stunning Palace of Versailles, just outside Paris, later this month.
by MAX VEE
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