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  THE RING:  It is back in the news, in headlines, photos, and films world wide and it is just as quietly spectacular now as it ever was. Of course we’re talking about Princess Diana’s engagement ring, now given by her son William to his bride-to-be Kate Middleton, in order, as he said, to keep his mother “present during all of this.”  The ring is not flashy or unconventional in any way, and yet, it has been the object of controversy since it was first chosen to join the Royal Jewels back in 1981.

Kate, as you all know, is a commoner, and so, you might say, is The Ring.  It was never specially designed for Princess Diana; instead, it was chosen from a catalog by the ring’s famous British maker, Gerrard. Back then, it sold for about $45,000 and anyone with that kind of cash hanging around could just as easily stop by Gerrards and pick one up, too.  Oh, my!

Queen Elizabeth II wasn’t exactly pleased with The Ring.  It was not exclusive, as the jewelry of the Royal Family had always been.  As for its design, well, it was pretty enough. But it features a 12-carat circular cut solitaire sapphire, admittedly beautiful enough.

But…it is not a diamond.  And we are talking about engagement rings here, aren’t we? The design is somewhat familiar:  It is not unlike rings (albeit they’re smaller!) given to young girls by their parents as a graduation or 16th birthday gift. 






                                                   New Choices

But it is a sapphire.  A fabulous, huge sapphire.  And when Princess Diana chose it in place of a diamond, it began transforming the way young women looked at engagement rings.  Suddenly, it was OK to choose a gemstone other than a diamond.  Suddenly the traditional plain solitaire (this one is surrounded by a ring of diamonds) wasn’t really required.  Suddenly, a bride-to-be could actually choose a ring she liked best, and wear it for her engagement without criticism. New designs entered the field.

Now, The Ring is back, and it has never been so popular.  Sparkling on the left hand of the remarkable Miss Middleton, it has never looked so good.  Consequently, it is at the center of a second wave of replicas already.  Everybody, it seems, wants The Ring! 


Michael Arnstein, CEO of New York’s Sapphire Co., said that requests for copies of The Ring started pouring in the minute it was photographed on Kate’s finger. He further told Associated Press, “We’re in a frenzy.  This is changing our business overnight.” And that is most “uncommon.”

                                             Coronation Ring


Rings have long been prized by the Royal Family, but they are not the only outstanding rings of the monarchy.  Perhaps the most famous is the coronation ring. According to the official web site for the British Monarchy, the largest coronation ring was made for King William IV and used for every coronation since his except for Queen Victoria’s.

The center of the coronation ring contains a large sapphire.  Lying over it in the form of a cross are five rubies.  Around the sapphire is a circle of diamonds which represents the cross of St. George.  (Does this sound at all familiar?)

The coronation ring, along with the entire collection of British Crown Jewels is on

display at all times in the Tower of London, a somewhat peculiar (if not eerie) place to

show off the jewels, since they must share the Tower with centuries of historic torture


The engagement Ring, however, is not in the Tower.  It is on Kate’s hand, after a very

long wait.  Stunning! 




Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

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