Roman Gold & Saphire Ring

Roman Gold & Saphire Ring

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Sapphire ring ➾longed to Anglo-Saxon or Viking royalty'

A unique gold and sapphire finger ring, found by a metal detectorist and just purchased by the Yorkshire Museum, almost certainly belonged to Anglo-Saxon or Viking royalty, very senior clergy or a leading member of the Anglo-Saxon aristocracy, say historians.

Of very great historical importance, it is the only Anglo-Saxon era sapphire ever found in the ground in Britain. The only other sapphire from the period is the one that the Queen wears in her Imperial State Crown, used at the opening of Parliament. Known as St. Edward’s sapphire, this latter gem was once part of King Edward the Confessor’s finger ring and is now the oldest gem in the British crown jewels.

The association of sapphires with high status – demonstrated by St. Edward’s gem – suggests that the sapphire ring, just purchased by the Yorkshire Museum, is of very substantial historical significance. It was found in a field some six miles to the south of York by a local metal detectorist, Michael Greenhorn, a railway technician, was subsequently declared treasure and has now been bought by the museum for £35,000.

It’s very likely that the ring belonged originally to an Anglo-Saxon Archbishop of York, one of the Earls of Northumbria or a senior member of one of Anglo-Saxon England’s royal families.

But narrowing down the field may not be an impossibility. For the Yorkshire Museum is to launch a multi-disciplinary investigation to unlock the secrets of their newly acquired and unique piece of treasure.

Although the ring probably dates from the early 10th to the mid 11th century, it could be much earlier, conceivably even from the 7th century. So the museum’s first task will be to narrow down the age range by looking for stylistic parallels in other pieces of Anglo-Saxon and other first millennium AD jewellery.

Secondly they want to better understand the sophisticated technology used to create the ring - especially the gold work. The precious metal alloy is of a very high standard – 90% gold, 8% silver and 2% copper.

The museum, in York, also plans to track down the ultimate origin of the sapphire itself. It’s possible that it came originally from India or Sri Lanka and a special scanning electron microscopy examination of the gem will almost certainly be carried out to identify trace elements and ascertain its geological background.

This may also help to reconstruct its pre-Anglo-Saxon history. Is it likely to have been imported into England or Europe from thousands of miles away in Anglo-Saxon times, or is it more likely that it was imported in Roman times and re-used in various different high status roles for hundreds of years before it was lost south of York a millennium or more ago.

Microscopic examination of ware marks on the ring may also shed light on its history – as might a detailed historical examination of the area around where it was found .

The Yorkshire ring, weighing 10.2 grams, is 25.5 millimetres in diameter, and is adorned with a six millimetre deep-blue sapphire and pieces of red glass, all set into the gold.

In medieval times, sapphires were seen as magical objects – capable of protecting kings and other members of the ruling elite against assassination. They were seen as particularly powerful against death by poisoning! In the medieval mind, the ability of a sapphire to combat poison could even be tested - by swinging the gem above a spider. If the creature died, then the sapphire was seen as being in good working order.

Sapphires were also regarded as high status health aids (able to cure a range of complaints) – and as a guarantee of morality, capable of reducing human lust and impurity of thought.


Just like in Roman times gemstones were extremely popular and the display of gems became more important than the surrounding goldwork. Precious stones came mainly from the East. Flourishing trading contacts with India and Persia brought vast amounts of garnets, beryls, corundum, and pearls to Constantinople. Gold was being mined within the empire’s borders in modern-day Greece, the Balkans, and in Turkey, where silver was found with gold. The people of the Byzantine Empire liked their jewelry colorful. In addition to gemstones, the desired polychrome effect was achieved by the use of enamel.


Ancient India Edit

Rings [1] and other types of jewelry including necklaces, rings, bracelets, earrings, bangles and pendants have been discovered from the 3rd millennium BC Indus Valley Civilization. Factories of small beads have been discovered in Lothal, India. [2]

Ancient Near East Edit

Finger rings have been found in tombs in Ur dating back to circa 2500 BC. [3] The Hittite civilization produced rings, including signet rings, only a few of which have been discovered. [4] People in Old Kingdom Egypt wore a variety of finger rings, of which a few examples have been found, including the famous scarab design. [4] Rings became more common during the Egyptian Middle Kingdom, containing increasingly complex designs. [4] Egyptians made not only metal rings but rings from faience, some of which were used as new year gifts. [5] Native styles were superseded by Greek and Roman fashions during the Ptolemaic dynasty. [4]

Archaic and classical Greek Edit

Archaic Greek rings were to some extent influenced by Egyptian rings, although they tended to be less substantial and were not generally used as working signet rings. [6] As gold was not locally available, rings made in the eastern colonies tended to be made from silver and bronze, while Etruscans used gold. [6]

The classical period showed a shift away from bronze to a wider adoption of silver and gold. The most typical design of the period involved a lozenge bezel mounting an intaglio device. [7] Over time, the bezel moved towards a more circular form. [7]

Roman Rings Edit

During the early and middle imperial era (first two centuries AD), a typical Roman ring consisted of a thick hoop that tapered directly into a slightly wider bezel. [8] An engraved oval gem would be embedded within the bezel with the top of the gem only rising slightly above the surrounding ring material. [8] Such rings are known as Henig II and III/Guiraud 2 in formal academic parlance or simply as Roman rings to modern jewellers. [8] In general, Roman rings became more elaborate in the third and fourth centuries AD. [9]

High and Late Middle Ages in Europe Edit

During this period, it was fashionable for multiple rings to be worn on each hand and each finger. Rings during this period were mostly made from copper-based alloys, silver or gold. [10] Gems became common after 1150, along with the belief that certain gems had the power to help or protect the wearer in various ways. [10] Engraved rings were produced using Lombardic script until around 1350, when it was replaced by Gothic script. [10] Some of the inscriptions were devotional, others romantic in nature. [10] [11] For romantic inscriptions, French was the language of choice. [11] An increasing use of contracts and other documents requiring formal seals meant that signet rings became more important from the 13th century onwards. [10]

Each finger had a symbolic association or meaning (most of which were lost in antiquity and varied with culture) for the placement of a ring, significant to observers.

The fourth digit or ring finger of the left hand has become the customary place to wear betrothal, engagement and wedding rings in much of the world, though in certain countries the right hand finger is used. [12] This custom was practically established as norm during World War II. [13]

The use of the fourth finger of the left hand (the 'ring finger') is associated with an old belief that the left hand's ring finger is connected by a vein directly to the heart: the vena amoris, or vein of love. This idea was in vogue in the 16th and 17th century England, when Henry Swinburne referred to it in his book about marriage. [14] It can be traced to ancient Rome, when Aulus Gellius cited Appianus as saying that the ancient Egyptians had found a fine nerve linking the fourth finger to the heart. [15]

Occasionally rings have been re-purposed to hang from bracelets or necklaces. [16]

The signet ring is traditionally worn on the left pinky or little finger. [17]

A birthstone ring and/or "birthday" stone ring is customarily worn on the first finger of the right hand and indicates respectively the month and day of the week in and on which the bearer was born.

Amulet rings, meaningful for various purposes from protection (pentacle rings) to augmenting personal attributes (wisdom, confidence, social status etc.), are worn on various fingers, often depending on the intent of the ring's design or attributes of the stone inset. Although it has been thought that amulet rings worn on specific fingers for specific purposes enhanced their powers, most people simply wear them on any finger on which they fit.

Thumb rings were originally worn to protect the thumb from injuries caused by the launching of arrows and are a sign of an archer.

While the ISO standard defines ring size in terms of the inner circumference (measured in millimeters), various countries still use traditional sizing systems. Sizing beads, which functionally reduce the ring size, are small metal beads added to the inner surface of a ring to hold it in place against the finger they have the advantage of being easily added or removed.

After several thousand years of ring manufacture, the total number of styles produced is vast. Even cataloging the rings of a single civilization, such as the Romans, presents a major challenge. As a result, the following list should be considered to be very limited.

Ring Image Usage
Aqiq ring A carnelian or agate ring worn by some Muslims in imitation of Muhammad.
Birthstone ring Usually a slender, simple ring (sometimes consisting of a band), set with the wearer's birthstone or the birthstone of the wearer's spouse. Such birthstone rings as the Mother's ring can be worn set with various birthstones. Some couples wear birthstones set with a wedding anniversary month birthstone as well as other commemorative stones.
Cameo (carving) ring A plain hoop mounted by a table setting, into which is affixed a carved cameo. This ring style is exceedingly ancient and was more commonly worn by men than women. Ancient cameos depicted pagan gods, Christian saints and even self-portraits. Multi-coloured stone and often marble or porphyry was most desirable, as it produced a striped, layered or three-dimensional effect. The modern cameo ring usually shows the profile of a goddess or a Roman soldier.
Championship ring a.k.a. sports ring A ring presented to members of winning teams in professional sports leagues as well as college tournaments in the Americas. The best known of these are the Super Bowl ring and World Series ring. Also, in professional American sports leagues—such as the National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball (MLB)—the runners-up of the league championship game/series are awarded a ring, being the champion of their conference (sub-league).
Claddagh ring An Irish friendship, courtship or engagement ring. It is traditionally used to indicate the state of romantic availability. In recent times it is commonly worn as a wedding ring. In centuries past, this ring was bequeathed from a mother to daughter, though men also wore it.
Class ring Worn by students and alumni in commemoration of their graduation.
Cocktail ring An oversized ladies' ring with a large center stone often surrounded by tiny stones. Nearly any oversized ladies' ring may be termed "cocktail". This is the most common type of costume jewellery ring and is also known as a cluster ring, statement ring and/or dinner ring. [18]
Doctoral ring A gold ring worn by a scholar who earns a doctoral degree at a Danish or Swedish university. In America it is common for priests who have earned their doctorate in theology to wear such a ring on the ring finger of their right hand.
Ecclesiastical ring A religious ring, either of authority for clerics or as some other special religious symbol. When worn by bishops or higher-ranking priests, it is called "Episcopal ring".
Engagement ring A ring was given to and worn by a woman signifying her engagement to be married.
Eternity ring A ring symbolizing eternity with a partner. These are often given in lieu of engagement rings, as when former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown purchased one for his wife (as a recompense for not having originally proposed to her with an engagement ring). [19]
Fede ring A ring style featuring two clasped hands.
Finger armor ring [fr] A ring style which spans from the base of the finger to just below the fingernail or middle of the second joint. This type of ring includes a bending joint.
Gay Pride ring (a.k.a. "Rainbow ring") Representing gay pride, a ring which is usually a band, either set with seven stones or inlaid with seven enamelled lines, in the seven colours representing the Rainbow flag (LGBT movement). In decades past, a stone-set ring worn on the right hand ring finger or the pinky of either hand represented a call for gay equality. [ citation needed ]
Giardinetti ring Italian for 'little garden' a design which features an openwork bezel containing multiple small stones. [20] It was most prominent in the second half of the 18th century. [20]
Gimmal ring Ring made of 2 or 3 hoops that are hinged at the back and meant to interlock and open popular for betrothals in 16th- and 17th-century Europe
Guard ring (a.k.a. ring-guard) A slender, slightly tighter-fitting ring designed to be placed on the finger after a large/loose ring, to prevent slippage and ring loss. [ citation needed ]
Iron Ring, and Engineer's Ring Ring worn by American and Canadian engineers, after swearing the Engineer's Oath. This is often in the form of a crudely worked piece of iron modern rings tend to be sleek steel, some with etched geometric designs. The ring is meant to be worn on the pinky (little) finger of the dominant hand at all times. This ring has been loosely associated with Rudyard Kipling.
Key ring A ring with a key mounted on the bezel. Used by the Romans as both a means of carrying a key to their family valuables chest and to demonstrate their status within the family. [21]
Memento mori ring Largely dating from the 16th to the 17th centuries, memento rings featured a skull and the inscription Memento Mori (“Remember Death”) sometimes combined with other features. [22]
Mood ring A novelty ring which changes colour in response to body temperature, using a thermochromic liquid crystal.
Mother's ring A ring worn by a mother displaying the birthstone of each of her children, and sometimes including those of the mother and father. [ citation needed ]
Mourning ring A ring worn in memory of someone who has died. [23] Also commonly called a "memorial ring". Use attested from at least the 14th century AD to the late 19th century. [23]
Multi-finger ring Two or more laterally conjoined rings, designed to be worn on two, three, or four fingers popularized by hip-hop culture. [ citation needed ]
Penannular ring Found in gold or gilded metal from Bronze Age Britain, these small thick incomplete circles are the wrong size and shape to be finger-rings and were probably worn as nose or ear-rings or attached to the hair or clothing. [24]
Poison ring A ring consisting of a bezel with a compartment. Despite the name they were probably more commonly used to hold things like perfume or romantic keepsakes. [25]
Posie ring A ring with a lengthy inscription on its outer surface. These were commonly used as engagement and wedding rings. Also referred to as "posy" or "poesy" rings in reference to the line of poetry most commonly used in the inscription.
Portrait ring Ring with a small portrait, most common during the 17th century
Pre-engagement ring A small, inexpensive ring given to a partner, signifying the promise not to court anyone else. [26]
Prison ring A typically plastic ring fashioned by hand in prisons. [27]
Promise ring A ring worn to remind a person of a promise. These evolved in conjunction with wedding and religious vow rings in the sense that the ring represented the vow/promise.
Purity ring A symbol of virginity and a vow to keep virginity in some religious cultures.
Puzzle ring Interlocking rings forming a single band. A famous example is the classic Cartier "Trinity" wedding ring.
Regards ring A Victorian engagement ring with an implicit acrostic: Ruby, Emerald, Garnet, Amethyst, Ruby, Diamond, Sapphire.
Rosary ring Also known as a Decade ring. [28] Ring worn around the finger with 10 indentations (or protrusions) and a cross as a bezel, representing one decade of a rosary. The rings are used to keep track of place in the prayer by rotating the ring on a finger and feeling the marks.
Sewing ring An early form of thimble
Signet ring An emblematic ring, often bearing a family coat of arms, some of which are fit for use to imprint a wax seal. In the event a seal or at least a representation of a seal is on the ring, it is called a "seal ring". The signet may bear anything from a custom-designed escutcheon to simple initials, in which case it is known as an initial ring.
Sovereign ring A large solid gold ring set with a gold sovereign. [ citation needed ]
SS-Ehrenring Nazi "honor ring" or "ring of honor". A plain silver band decorated with a death's head. Awarded to members of the Nazi SS (Schutzstaffel). A similar ring (in the form of a death's head) was also favored by the SS-SD (Schutzstaffel-Sicherheitsdienst) and was very secretive in design. There were in fact several different award rings during the Third Reich. [29]
Technology ring The Technology ring is worn in Canada by certified engineering and applied science technologists and technicians. [30] Like an Iron Ring, it is worn on the little finger of the working (dominant) hand.
Thumb ring Originally thumb rings were used as an archery implement, mainly in eastern styles of archery. Thumb rings are an ancient custom.
Toe ring Toe rings have a particular function in India. They are considered a customary ornament to be worn by married women. [31]
Watch ring A small watch fashioned to be worn as a ring. [ citation needed ]
Wedding ring A ring presented at the time of marriage to signify espousal and marital commitment. Originally worn only by women, it is now common for both spouses to wear such a ring.
Midi ring A ring worn above the knuckle. It was popular in fashion around 2012. [ citation needed ]

Notable individual rings Edit

    , held by a series of German-language actors since the 18th century, presently held by German actor Jens Harzer , a Swiss theatre award , the signet ring of the Pope – a ring that belonged to Elizabeth I of England

In myth and fiction Edit

    , a legendary ring of invisibility, mentioned by Plato , in Norse mythology, a cursed ring that can make gold , a ring that has magical properties , a self-multiplying gold ring depicted in Norse mythology
  • The One Ring, from J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit

Wearing a ring can in some cases be a safety concern, when the ring is made of a material stronger than the hand, fully encircles the digit, and catches onto an immovable object. This can result in serious injury (degloving), amputation, or Ring avulsion. [32] [33] Some recommend specifically not to use a ring while operating machinery or playing sports. [34]

If a ring catches on rotating machinery, or the ring of a falling person catches on a stationary object, the wearer may suffer injury. For these reasons, some workplaces require employees to remove their rings temporarily while performing certain tasks or when in certain areas of a workplace. Despite the ring's symbolic appeal as a solid band around the finger, modern jewelers are sometimes known to modify rings such that, at worst, they only tear the flesh of the wearer's finger in cases like those above-mentioned. [ citation needed ] Such "breakaway" modifications have not yet achieved popularity as standard designs. [ citation needed ]

Ahead of these weddings, specialist valuables insurer Ripe Insurance has delved deep into the archives to discover as much as possible about royal engagement rings from the last 200 years.

From Alexandra of Denmark’s acrostic inspired ring to Princess Eugenie’s pink sapphire, let’s go back in time and explore what makes these pieces of jewellery so unique.

Queen Victoria’s ring

Prior to the Victorian era of 1837 to 1901, engagement rings were a rare commodity. However, during the reign of Queen Victoria, there was an increased demand for jewellery and many young women dreamt of owning a diamond engagement ring – even though these were a luxury reserved for the aristocratic ruling class.

In-keeping with this emerging trend, on the announcement of their engagement in 1839, Prince Albert presented Queen Victoria with an 18-carat gold, serpent engagement ring. The head of the serpent was adorned with rubies for the eyes, diamonds for the mouth, as well as a large emerald set at the centre, representing Victoria’s birthstone. Whilst a serpent may seem an unusual choice for an engagement ring, it is an ancient Roman symbol for everlasting love and was a particularly popular expression of adoration during these times.

Prince Albert himself designed the ring, and it’s believed Queen Victoria was wearing it when she was buried.

Acrostic rings

Acrostic jewellery, which conveys certain messages or terms of endearment through the first letter of each gemstone, rose in popularity during the Victorian era. Jean-Baptiste Mellerio (1765-1850), jewellery designer to Marie Antoinette and the French court, is credited with popularising acrostic rings.

Ever the trendsetters, the British Royal Family followed suit. In 1862, Edward VII proposed to Alexandra of Denmark with a gold acrostic style ring at the Royal Palace of Laeken in Brussels, Belgium.

The ring was designed by London jewellers Garrard & Co and its gem stones were made up of beryl, emerald, ruby, topaz and jacinth. It spelled BERTIE, in reference to the name that Alexandra affectionately called her husband-to-be.

The lost ring

For all the publicity surrounding the aforementioned engagement rings, very little is known about the engagement ring of Queen Mary, also known as Mary of Teck. Her reign lasted from 1910 to 1936, but prior to this she was actually engaged to her husband’s older brother Prince Albert Victor – the heir to the British throne, until his premature death from pneumonia at the age of 28.

George proposed to Mary in 1893 in the garden of Sheen Lodge, but little else is known about their engagement. To this day, it is still not fully known whether Mary even received a ring from George – despite extensive research into royal weddings in recent years, no conclusive information has come to light either in archival documents, diaries, or photographs.

Some historians suggest that, if Queen Mary did have an engagement ring, it may have been bequeathed away from the current core Royal Family to the Countess of Harewood or a daughter in law, but this is unconfirmed speculation.


Sapphire engagement rings have been a staple part of Royal Family tradition for centuries. Queen Victoria, in particular, was fond of sapphires, so Prince Albert regularly bought them for her. In fact, Queen Elizabeth still often wears a famous sapphire brooch which was passed down from Queen Victoria. This brooch was the inspiration for the sapphire engagement ring that Kate Middleton received from Prince William.

But why exactly has there been such a infatuation with sapphires among generations of royals? Well, its distinguishing attributes are its energy and healing properties. Among other things, it is associated with deep spirituality, devotion, integrity and regality.

The word ‘sapphire’ actually comes from the Greek word ‘sappheiros’ meaning blue colour. This deep blue colour features prominently in the engagement rings of the Queen Mother, Princess Anne and Princess Diana.

Staying true to tradition, albeit with a slightly extravagant twist, Princess Eugenie of York was proposed to with a sapphire engagement ring. The ring features a pink padparadscha sapphire, which are amongst the rarest and most valuable sapphires in the world, and experts have estimated its worth at around £100,000. What’s more, its unusual pink and orange colour is one of the rarest colour sapphires available.

Wallis’ Emerald

Of all the royal relationships through the years, the one between King Edward VIII and American actress Wallis Simpson was perhaps the most controversial. Wallis, an American socialite, had been divorced twice before getting engaged to Edward in 1936.

The ring he gave her featured a rectangular step-cut emerald, sat within a stylised leaf border and set with 14 brilliant cut diamonds. It was engraved with the words: "We are ours now 27 X 36.", which is shorthand for the day Edward proposed (October 27, 1936).

However, the ring’s aesthetic appeal was sadly overshadowed by the scandal surrounding Wallis and Edward’s engagement – such was the furore over their relationship, that Edward had to abdicate the throne in order to marry her.

Despite the widespread disapproval of their wedding, which attracted less than 20 guests, the couple remained together until Edward’s death in 1972. A year after Wallis’ death in 1986, the ring sold at a Sotheby’s auction for an eye-watering £1,312,757.


Although Princess Eugenie’s pink sapphire ring is quite overstated in its design, it is arguably no less lavish than Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew’s ruby engagement ring an Oval cut, Burmese ruby surrounded by 10 diamonds in a floral arrangement and set on a yellow gold band.

Prince Andrew presented the ring to Sarah on his 26th birthday and supposedly chose the ruby in homage to her fiery, red hair. His bachelor party certainly attracted a high-profile crowd, with Prince Charles, Billy Connolly, David Frost and Elton John rumoured to have been in attendance.

Sarah and Andrew’s ring was not the first ruby ring in royal history, however. Antony Armstrong-Jones proposed to Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, with a ruby ring set in diamonds at Windsor Castle in 1960. The design was created to look like a rosebud in honour the princess’ middle name, Rose.

Princess Margaret and Anthony’s wedding was the first televised royal wedding in history, being watched by 20 million viewers. Sadly though, their marriage was relatively short-lived by royal standards, lasting only 18 years until their divorce in 1978.


As everlasting symbols of grandeur, it is no surprise that diamonds have appeared so regularly on the fingers of royals – and recent history has suggested that diamonds are a Queen’s best friend.

When Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip got engaged at Balmoral Castle in 1946, Philip presented her with a square-cut diamond engagement ring with diamond side stones. The ring’s diamonds came from a tiara belonging to Philip's mother, Princess Andrew of Greece, because Philip knew he would need a ring fit for a (soon-to-be) Queen.

Just over 50 years on from Elizabeth and Philip’s engagement, Sophie Rhys-Jones & Prince Edward tied the knot. But this was no customary ring – the 2.05 carat, white gold engagement ring is thought to be the most expensive royal engagement ring ever purchased, with an estimated value of £105,000. However, if the estimated values of Meghan Markle’s jewel from Botswana are to be believed, this record may no longer stand.

One of the more recent diamond ring proposals within the Royal Family was in 2005, when Camilla Parker Bowles was given an 8 carat, art deco style ring by Prince Charles. The ring’s exact origin is unclear, but it is rumoured to have been a gift to the Queen Mother from George VI to mark the birth of their daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, in 1926.

Royal sparklers

With so much heritage and prestige, it’s no wonder the Royal Family’s engagement rings are the subject of national fascination.

In recognition of their historical and cultural significance, Ripe Insurance has created a interactive site showcasing the Royal Family’s engagement rings over the last 200 years.This visual features the design, detail and value of the rings, as well as details of the engagements and some surprising facts.

So if you’d like to know more about the fascinating past of the royal family’s sparklers, head on over to explore the history for yourself.

The History Behind Kate Middleton's Engagement Ring Is Fascinating

It's been several years since Kate Middleton and Prince William's engagement, but the stunning 12-carat oval sapphire engagement ring that marked the occasion remains a phenomenon. Surrounded by a whopping 14 diamonds, the iconic ring that once belonged to Prince William's late mother, Princess Diana, has a fascinating history that dates back a couple of centuries.

According to Vogue, the inspiration behind the royal bauble's beginnings dates back to 1840, when Prince Albert had British jeweler Garrard create a sapphire-and-diamond brooch for his future wife, 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,” Garrard’s current creative director, Sara Prentice, tells the magazine. Queen Victoria treasured the piece so much that she wore it up until her husband's death in 1861.

Prince Albert's beautiful wedding gift has since remained a crown heirloom, having been worn by Queen Elizabeth on several occasions (including at the Royal Ascot in 2015). But the stunning blue brooch really inspired Prince Charles when he was picking out a ring for his future wife. “It was said to be a strong influence on Prince Charles when he came to Garrard to purchase a ring for Lady Diana,” Prentice says. “He actually ended up setting a sapphire cluster ring for her, which was later given by Prince William to the Duchess of Cambridge on their engagement. I would imagine growing up being surrounded by your mother and your grandmother [with] such beautiful, incredible jewelry. it would stick with you.”

Prince William will eventually inherit the crown jewels, which include the gorgeous brooch that carries so much significance. So, we won’t be surprised when Kate Middleton pays homage to the sapphire accessory by wearing it alongside her stunning engagement ring that was inspired by it.

Create Your Perfect Sapphire Ring

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3. The Koh-i-Noor Diamond

This 186 1 ⁄16 carats, diamond can be seen in the Tower of London on display as a massive part of the Crown Jewels. The diamond was taken from India in 1850 and given to the British Royal Family. Today, it's currently set into the Crown of Queen Elizabeth (which is the crown that is on display). Thankfully for these royal women the curse only affects the men who wear it. Every man who has worn the stone has lost his throne. Which may be why it's never been worn by a male since Alexandra placed it on her head.

Pictured is Queen Alexandra with the Stone in the middle of the crown. Via The Odd Emporium .

53 Vintage Engagement Rings For the One-of-a-Kind Bride

Whether you like the idea of wearing a piece of history or you're after a one-of-a-kind ring that you won't see on anyone else, consider going vintage.

Before you say yes&mdashto the ring and your impending proposal&mdashfind out which era of vintage jewelry speaks to you. Be it Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian, Art Deco, Retro, Mid-Century, or a re-set family heirloom, each period offers something different in terms of design, stone quality, metalwork, motifs, and more. Here, 53 of the most beautiful period pieces to shop now.

Years: 1714-1837

The Georgian era took place during the reigns of the four King Georges of England and its jewelry is considered to be the most feminine. This was, after all, the time of Marie Antoinette and Jane Austen.

"A bride with a sense of romance would be drawn to a Georgian engagement ring," says Clive Kandel, Jewelry Consultant for SHOP

1st Dibs Georgian Rose Cut Diamond Cluster Ring, circa the 1830s, $3,661.95,

1st Dibs Antique Georgian Era Blue Glass Diamond Unisex Ring, circa 1790, $9,800,

Erica Weiner Georgian Topaz and Seed Pearl Cluster Ring, circa 1800, $2,300,

Croghan&rsquos Jewel Box Estate Emerald-Cut Emerald & Diamond 18K Gold Ring, $19,550,

Erica Weiner Georgian Pearl and Diamond Triple Cluster Ring, circa 1820, $1,800,

Years: 1837-1901

Defined by the reign of Queen Victoria, engagement rings from this era are typically ornate and have engraved gold settings with scroll designs. "They are very much the opposite of the more modern, classic, single-stone diamond rings of the last eighty years," says Kandel. Victorian rings often feature cluster settings and larger colored stones surrounded by smaller diamonds on each side.

McTeigue & McClellandNatural Emerald and Old European Cut Diamond Ring in 18 Karat Gold and Platinum Circa 1865, price upon request,

Doyle & DoyleOld European Cut Diamond Solitaire Engagement Ring With Black Enamel Detail, circa 1870, $22,000,

McTeigue & McClelland Old European Cut Diamond Ring in 14- Karat Red Gold circa 1845, p rice upon request,

Croghan&rsquos Jewel Box Victorian Oval Turquoise & Diamond Halo 18-Karat Gold Ring, circa the 1900s, $3,165,

Fox & Bond 18k Victorian Old Mine Cut White and Brown Diamond Ring, circa the 1870s-1890s, $1,090,

Croghan&rsquos Jewel Box Victorian Aquamarine & Diamond Halo Engagement Ring, $6,560, circa the 1900s,

Fox & Bond14k Austrian Old Mine Cut Diamond Cluster Ring, circa the 1870s-1890s, $3,170,

Fox & Bond18-Karat Victorian 5-Stone Old Mine Cut Diamond Ring, circa the 1890s-1900, $12,390,

Years: 1901-1920

The Edwardian period began when Queen Victoria's son, Edward VII, took the throne at the beginning of the 20th century&mdasharound the same time that platinum became the metal of choice for fine jewelry. Because platinum is much harder than gold, jewelers were able to intricately engrave the bands and settings&ndashgiving the engagement rings of this period a lacy, detailed, and dainty look.

Fred LeightonEdwardian Marquise Diamond and Ruby Scalloped Navette Ring $17,000, circa the 1900s,

Ashley Zhang The Antoinette Ring Old European Cut Diamond Engagement Ring, circa the 1900s, $10,300,

Briony Raymond Estate Old Mine Diamond and Sapphire Ring, $14,500, SHOP

Kentshire Green Zircon Solitaire Ring with Edwardian Style Platinum Band, $8,150, circa the 1900s,

Siegelson, New York Old European Prong and Bezel Set Blackened Silver Ring, price upon request, SHOP

Fox & Bond Edwardian &ldquoEye&rdquo Old European Cut Diamond and Platinum Ring, circa 1910-1915, $3,865,

Stephen Russell Platinum Cushion Cut Diamond & Sapphire Ring, circa 1910, price upon request, SHOP

McTeigue & McClelland Old European Cut Diamond and Natural Emerald Engagement Ring Circa 1905, p rice upon request,

Years: 1920-1938

The end of World War I ushered in the beginning of the Roaring '20s, and the beginning of the Art Deco period. Platinum remained the most popular metal to use in engagement rings, but the introduction of the emerald cut and diamond baguettes ushered in a new geometric look that was much more minimalist and linear than previous eras. An Art Deco engagement ring would be ideal for someone "who is attracted to symmetry, straight lines, and fine detailing often found in architecture," says Kandel.

Why Berganza

When you purchase a piece of fine vintage jewellery from Berganza, you are investing in rarity. With a service that is unrivalled by any, we are confident that when you buy from us, you are buying peace of mind. Every single piece of jewellery has a unique historical background which dates to a time when jewellery was crafted by hand in the days before mass-production, therefore no two rings are alike, ensuring that you will be sure to find a piece that suits your personality. Contact us today to view our current and fully up-to-date extensive collection of jewellery- available in store or online and secure your own unique piece of jewellery history.