15 March 2013

Flashback Friday: A Few More Engagement Rings

Today we have the last entry in our mini-series on royal engagement rings! This is just a random handful of rings, really. We haven't covered every ring, obviously, but I think we've hit most of the ones that we can get good looks at.

Clotilde, Princess of Venice and Piedmont
Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy gave his French actress fiancée a ring designed by his friend Fawaz Gruosi of Maison de Grisogono. It includes a central ruby with 14 white diamonds, all in heart shapes.

Queen Soraya of Iran
The young second wife of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran received a massive 22.37 carat diamond when she married - it's a lot like a super-sized version of Princess Grace's ring. They divorced and she took the title of princess instead of queen; when she died, the ring was included in the auction of her possessions.

Princess Nathalie of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg
Perhaps the most petite ring in this series is the one Alexander Johannsmann gave Princess Nathalie. But one expects that with Nathalie's lifestyle - she competes in dressage and breeds horses - it was a perfect fit.

Victoria, Countess Spencer
A bit on the fringe of what we normally cover here, but this is an interesting one: Earl Spencer gave this dual ruby and diamond ring topped with a crown to his first wife, Victoria Lockwood. Queen Victoria received a similar one as a wedding present from her half-sister.

Sophie, Hereditary Princess of Liechtenstein
Prince Alois gave his bride a classic e-ring, easily mistaken for others we've seen here: a single sapphire with a diamond on either side.

Empress Joséphine of France
And finally, the oldest engagement ring we've featured: the one Napoléon Bonaparte reportedly offered to Joséphine in 1796. It is, like others we've seen, a "toi et moi" (you and me) ring featuring two stones - one a pear-shaped diamond, the other a pear-shaped sapphire, both set on a simple gold band. It's just come up for auction.

And that's it! Here are the previous entries:

We've seen different traditions and different ways of looking at engagement rings as we've gone through the series. Some of these ladies wear their engagement rings permanently, while a good percentage switch things up or go without. (And part of the point of this is to say: no, it often doesn't mean that anything is wrong with a marriage just because the ring is gone.) We've also seen a lot of different designs, from small to huge and basic to complicated, and now I'm curious to know:

What's your all-time favorite royal engagement ring?

Photos: Maison de Grisogono/Corbis/BilledBladet/ANP