Greeks and Romans were the first users of engagement rings. However, the origin of the engagement rings in recorded history is traceable to Pope Innocent’s establishing a waiting period between the promise of marriage and the actual marriage. Engagement rings were an important bond so much so that until the Great Depression, a man breaking a marriage engagement was liable to legal action for a breach of promise. Nobel metals, mostly platinum, gold, and silver were used in engagement rings. Diamonds predominated among the precious stones, but many other gemstones like sapphires, rubies, and emeralds have also been used in engagement rings. Affordability has been the main factor behind using diamond substitutes like cubic zirconias and moissanites.
1. Mary of Burgundy’s Engagement Ring
Mary of Burgundy, also known as Rich Mary, was born to Isabella of Bourbon and Charles the Bold. She was born in Brussels, Brabant on February 13, 1457 and died in Winedale Castle, Flanders on March 27, 1482 at the young age of 25 years. Being the only child of Charles the Bold, she was heiress presumptive of the vast and wealthy domain comprising of Duchy of Burgundy, Free County of Burgundy, and Low Countries. When she was only five years old, her father received the first proposal to marry the future King Ferdinand II of Aragon. Of the many suitors, she chose Archduke Maximilian of Austria. The earliest use of the diamond ring as an engagement ring in recorded history was worn by Mary of Burgundy at the occasion of her engagement to Archduke Maximilian of Austria in 1477 in the imperial court of Vienna.
2. Lady Diana’s Engagement Ring
On February 6, 1981, the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, proposed to Lady Diana, and she accepted it, but their engagement was kept secret for some time. On February 24, 1981, Lady Diana selected a large £30,000 ring which is equivalent to about current
£95,000. The ring was made of white gold with a 12 carat oval blue Ceylon sapphire surrounded by 14 exquisitely arranged smaller solitaire diamonds. The ring was made by the Crown Jewelers Garrard. Contrary to royal standards, the ring was not unique and was featured in Garrard’s jewelery collection. The design of the ring was copied by the jewelers throughout the world. Twenty-year-old Diana became Princess of Wales on July 29, 1981 after she married the Prince of Wales at St. Paul’s Cathedral.
3. Beyonce’s Ring
Jay-Z married Beyonce Knowles in 2002. The couple avoided discussing about their relationship openly, and according to Knowles, that was helpful. Jay-Z said, ‘We don’t play with our relationship.’ They were not in the spotlight during dating and married quietly. Knowles did not show her engagement ring until April 22, 2008 when it was debuted and became a public record. Beyonce is titled as the owner of the most expensive engagement ring. The $5-million-dollar ring was designed by her favorite jeweler Lorraine Schwartz. Mohammad Cimark, owner of the Precious Gems and Jewels in London, confirmed that the large, 18 carat, octagon-cut diamond was a lovely, exceptional, and eye catching, internally clear, premium stone. In 2006, Time magazine listed Jay-Z and Knowles as the most powerful couple on its list of 100 Most Influential People.
4. Paris Hilton’s Engagement Ring
Paris Hilton’s engagement ring, given to her in 2004 by her fiancÃ© Paris Lastis, is considered the second most expensive engagement ring. Costing $ 4.7 million, it is considered the second most precious engagement ring in the world. Formerly colorless diamonds, being free of impurities were considered more valuable, while contrarily the colored ones like that of Hilton’s ring, being unique and personalized are currently valued more. The couple broke off just after five months, in September 2005. Following the break, Paris Hilton auctioned the ring to help the victims of Katrina hurricane. After the break off she commented ”¦I have seen the break ups between people who love each other and rush into getting married too quickly – and I do not want to make that mistake.’
5. Jackie Kennedy’s Ring
Jacqueline Kennedy was the most stylish U.S. First Lady. She was the wife of JFK; John Fitzgerald Kennedy who died in 1963. Many years after his death, she married the Greek Tycoon Aristotle Onasis. She received Van Cleef &Apples engagement ring from JFK. The ring was actually picked out by Joe Sr.; JFK’s father. In 1968 Jackie received the Lesotho III diamond ring from Aristotle Onasis when she agreed to marry him. It contained a 40.42 carat diamond, considered a rarity, cut from a 601 carat rough diamond discovered in South Africa. It is said that Jackie wore the ring only twice in her life and for most of the time it remained locked in a bank vault of New York. It was one of the 16 gems cut from a rough diamond
6. Lisa Vanderpump’s ring
Lisa Vanderpump is the star of The Real Houswives of Beverley Hills. She received her engagement ring from Ken Todd to whom she had been married for twenty Nine years. She owns a big sparkling ring with 20 carat diamond. She revealed that they the ring was an upgraded version and not the original engagement ring. Vanderpump is very fond of jewellery and when asked that while traveling what was the first thing she unpacked , she replied ‘I always have jewelry with me, so I always look for the safe, even if I just have a change of watch or rings’”they go straight to the safe instead of leaving them in bags.’ Replying to what was the last thing she did in a hotel room , she said , ‘I always check all of the drawers’¦I always take the jewelry out last, that’s a big one; I’ve been known to leave things in the safe. ‘
7. Kim Kardashian
Kim Kardashian, the American Socialite and television personality was engaged to the NBA player, Kris Humphries. She received from him a 20 plus carat diamond, engagement ring which was worth $ 2 million. Recalling the event she said ‘My hand was shaking as he put the ring on my finger. Shaking! I was so excited, but this calm over me.” She described the engagement ring as ‘It’s the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. It’s perfect.’ The 16.5-carat emerald cut center stone is flanked by a pair of 2-carat trapezoids, for a total weight of 20.5 carats’¦Lorraine always listened to what I would want and the shapes I love. I had said I loved an emerald cut and they were scheming and plotting for a while.’
8. Khloe Kardashian
Khloe Kardashian is the younger sister of Reality television star. She is an American model, entrepreneur, and television personality. In September, 2009 she was engaged to Los Angles Lakers NBA star Lamar Odom. She received from him a 12.5 carat engagement ring which was worth $850,000.Kim Kardashian appreciated her sister’s engagement ring saying, ‘KhloÃ©’s is a radiant cut’. KhloÃ©’s ring is Vartan’s fine jewellery. It was little more than half the weight of her elder sister’s big 20 carats sparkler.
9. Melania Trump
Melania Trump, the Slovenian born model was engaged to the New York Based Real Estate tycoon Donald Trump. Her engagement ring is considered one of the most expensive rings. It’s estimated worth was $ 2 million. The engagement ring was 12 carat classic emerald cut, set in a platinum basket setting. The gem was flanked by baguettes; the typical leaf like design.Melania Trump had accepted to be the third Mrs. Trump.Melonia’s wedding dress was made by the house of Christian Dior at a staggering price of $200,000.
10. Queen Elizabeth’s Engagement Ring
Prince Philip proposed Queen Elizabeth with a simple but an elegant engagement ring. It was a three carat diamond flanked by five solitaires. All the gems were set in a platinum ring. Although it is one of the smallest jewellery items owned by the queen, yet it occupies a very special place as Her Majesty likes to wear it frequently. The ring was made by London Jeweler Philip Antrobus. The ring is easily recognized when she is not wearing the gloves. Her staff understands that, as soon as she starts twisting the ring around her finger, it was time to end the event.
Engagement rings worn by royal couples and celebrities are extremely precious though, their staggering prices do not strengthen the egagement bondage proportionately. They are no more valuable than as cheap the engagement rings as the sewing thimbles worn by a shepherd couple. It is not the price, rather the value in terms of love and affection that counts. Many precious rings prove only a very weak bond over the years while many cheaper rings prove a much stronger bond with the lapse of time. Binding strength of love, not the price is quintessential to an egagement ring.