Queen Victoria’s £1m ‘splendid’ jewel inspired Kate and Diana’s engagement ring

Kate Middleton shows off engagement ring in 2010 interview

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Prince William proposed to Kate in 2010, when he presented her with a sapphire from his late mother, Princess Diana which is worth around £390,000. The ring is a beautiful 12 carats Ceylon blue sapphire. But what’s the secret behind it?

Diamond expert and head of design at 77 Diamonds, Charlotte White, explained that Kate’s ring was inspired by a brooch which belonged to Queen Victoria.

“What may come as a surprise to some is that the ring which William proposed with after whipping it out of his backpack while the couple holidayed in Mount Kenya enjoys royal associations that date back much further than one generation.

“In 1840, Prince Albert commissioned Garrard to create a sapphire and diamond brooch for his future wife Victoria.

“Queen Victoria loved it so much that she wore it on her wedding day as her something blue on the front of her dress and would continue to wear it until her husband’s death in 1861.”

She continued: “In her will, she specified that it would remain a Crown heirloom, ensuring the brooch would always belong to the reigning monarch.

“The Queen has worn it several times and it has been said by Garrard that this sapphire brooch inspired Prince Charles at the time of choosing a ring for Diana.

“All this means that Prince William will eventually inherit the brooch commissioned by Prince Albert and that perhaps suggests that one day Kate will wear it too.”

Known as the Prince Albert’s Brooch, it is one of the most important pieces that he added to the royal collection.

The jewel was priceless for Queen Victoria, who wrote in her diary that Albert had given her “a splendid brooch;

“A large sapphire set round with diamonds, which is really quite beautiful.”

Queen Victoria loved her new brooch so much she wore it on her wedding gown the next day.

She paired it with a demi-parure of jewels made out of diamonds that had been given to her by the Sultan of Turkey.

Jewel expert Leslie Field described the brooch as “a large oblong sapphire surrounded by twelve round diamonds.”

The Royal Collection explained that the diamonds are “mounted in open-backed collets.”

It also noted, however, that the maker of the brooch is not known.

It could have been made either in England or in Albert’s native Germany. Max Stone, diamond expert at online jewellery retailer Steven Stone, explained that the brooch could have a value of almost £1million.

Charlotte White explained: “Kate’s ring is a spectacular, beautiful, and large engagement ring which is instantly recognisable and the honour of wearing that legendary jewel is something myriads of women could only dream of.

“There is no question that, irrespective of price tags and fashion, Kate’s ring is one of the most iconic and well-recognised of our generation, steeped as it is in royal history, even though it was actually a pret-a-porter model, ordered from a Garrard’s catalogue by Diana who chose it in 1981.

“When you consider royal choices for engagement rings, from Camilla, to Zara Phillips, Beatrice and even Charlene of Monaco and Meghan, they all opted for diamond-only styles.

“But from Princess Diana, and hence Kate, to Sarah Ferguson and Eugenie, richly coloured gemstones have played a central role in all these royal women’s glamorous engagement ring designs,” Charlotte explained.

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