Chaumet Pastorale 1
By Rachael Taylor | 17 April 2018

Royal engagement rings

Somewhere, lodged in the deepest recesses of our hearts, there is a much-suppressed princess dream, with all the castles and fairytale princes that go with it. Perhaps this is why whenever there is a royal engagement, we go into utter meltdown. And the British monarchy has been generous of late, giving us not one but two royal brides-to-be, and therefore two brand new styles of engagement rings to swoon over.

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Photo: Garrard Entanglement Tiara

Next month, American actress Meghan Markle will follow in the footsteps of Grace Kelly and swap the production studio for a palace as she lives out the real-life princess dream when she weds Prince Harry. Though her ring – three diamonds set on a yellow band – might seem like a simple choice, and it is indeed a classic design, it has already altered the fate of many a fiancé this year.

The first thing to know about this ring, known as a trilogy, is that the central largest diamond was sourced by the couple in Botswana, a place that has captured both their hearts. The second – even more touching detail – is that the smaller stones were lifted from a tiara belonging to Prince Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana. This makes it a ring with a story.

As well as an upsurge in requests for lookalike three-stone diamond rings – and plenty of collection launches to satisfy these urges – jewellers have also reported a piqued interest in bespoke commissions and upcycling of heritage jewels. Though a classic design, Harry and Meghan’s trilogy ring is rich with emotion and will no doubt become a heirloom of the sort to have future grandchildren dewy-eyed at its mention.

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Photo: Trilogy, 77 Diamonds

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Photos: Ortea Engagement Ring and Tacori Jewellery Dantela Engagement Ring 

Harry’s brother Prince William endured a similar reaction to his choice of engagement ring when he proposed to his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge. Similarly sentimental, his decision to bestow Kate with his late mother’s sapphire and diamond cluster ring from British jeweller Garrard caused a worldwide frenzy. At one point, it was estimated that the market for replica Kate rings was worth £10 billion.

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Le Vian Couture Royalty Collection

Photos: Garrard Sapphire Marguerite Cluster Ring and Le Vian Couture Royalty collection

The other royal ring of note belongs to Princess Eugenie, who will marry long-term partner Jack Brooksbank in October. Following in the regal footsteps of the Duchess of Cambridge, who made coloured gemstone engagement rings acceptable again for a new generation (as did Prince Charles and Princess Diana in the 1980s – there was a copycat commotion then too), she has steered away from a diamond as the central stone. Instead, Eugenie’s engagement ring is anchored by a Padparadscha sapphire, surrounded by a halo of diamonds.

Padparadscha sapphires are a much sought-after gem at the moment, and incredibly rare, selling for tens of thousands of pounds a carat. The gems, named for their similarity of shade to the lotus blossom (Padparadscha is derived from the Sinhalese word for the flower), is a beautiful pinkish-orange stone. The ideal examples sit exactly between the two colours and have a high clarity, as the lightness of the stone will show up any inclusions easily.

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Photos: Fabergé Devotion Padparadscha 7.06cts Ring and Cahumet Bague Russie

Whether your heart is entranced by the soft hues of this unusual gemstone, or Harry’s choice has you digging out your grandmother’s old jewels, the biggest trend in engagement rings this year is princes and princesses. And after all, shouldn’t every marriage be worthy of a fairytale?

Cover photo: Chaumet Pastorale