08 March 2013

Flashback Friday: Benelux Engagement Rings

This week, we return to our series on royal engagement rings and it's time to head to the Benelux countries: Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

Queen Paola of the Belgians
Paola's ring from Albert is a large rectangular diamond - it rivals that of Princess Grace, I think, but without the side baguette diamonds.

Princess Mathilde of Belgium, Duchess of Brabant
When Mathilde became engaged to Prince Philippe, she received a ring with a central oval ruby in an intricate diamond band from Belgian jeweler Wolfers. These days, she alternates between the ruby ring and a sapphire version (an oval sapphire with diamonds to the side) which has appeared in these later years of her marriage.

Princess Astrid of Belgium, Archduchess of Austria-Este
Astrid, the daughter of King Albert and Queen Paola, was given a sapphire and diamond ring by her husband Archduke Lorenz of Austria-Este.

Princess Claire of Belgium
Claire's e-ring from Prince Laurent, son of Albert and Paola, seems to be a single diamond on a simple band, though at least one report from the time of the engagement stated that Laurent had chosen a Cartier Trinity ring set with a solitaire diamond.

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands
Claus von Amsberg gave Princess Beatrix a single round diamond surrounded by two concentric rings of diamonds - an interesting play on a classic design, creating a larger ring without the use of a single huge stone.

Princess Máxima of the Netherlands
 While the Danish princes went with flag rings, Prince Willem-Alexander went with a ring in his national color. The central diamond is an orange hue, a fitting gift from the Prince of Orange. Willem-Alexander had a hand in designing the unusual ring, placing the diamond horizontally and surrounding it with two white diamonds on either side and a white diamond band above and below.

Princess Margriet of the Netherlands
Pieter van Vollenhoven gave Princess Margriet a ring with a single pearl - perhaps a more modest choice than others we see here, but lovely and dainty all the same.

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg
Then-Hereditary Grand Duke Henri presented his future wife with a cabochon ruby set in gold.

Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie of Luxembourg
The ring Guillaume gave Stéphanie reminds me a bit of Beatrix's ring, with its double outside rows. It may be just that method of creating a larger ring that puts this one near the top of my favorites list. Stéphanie has also worn her mother's engagement ring, particularly around the time of her wedding - her mother, of course, died just weeks before these two married.

Claire Lademacher
After her engagement to Prince Félix of Luxembourg, Claire Lademacher was spotted in this ring, a diamond with a hefty diamond band.

Which is your favorite?

Next week: the final rings.

Photos: Getty Images/Scanpix/PPE/RVD/Corbis