5 Most Iconic Engagement Rings

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 As soon as you announce your engagement people want three things: to hear how did the proposal happened; to find out if you’ve set a date; and to see the engagement ring.

It’s popularly assumed that De Beers, the diamond company, is responsible for creating the concept of the engagement ring. That’s not wrong — they certainly helped to popularise diamonds as the standard for engagement rings — but the ring, and what it symbolises, has a much longer history.

Over 2,000 years ago to Pliny the Elder wrote that husbands gave their brides a gold ring to wear during the ceremony and at special events. At home, the lucky lady wore an iron ring, which signified her husband’s ownership of her. Romantic!

It is generally thought that the first diamond engagement ring was given in the 15th century. In 1477 Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave Mary of Burgundy an engagement ring with diamonds in the shape of an M — which probably stood for Maximilian, not Mary.

For hundreds of years, most people couldn’t afford diamonds or gems, but engagement rings were still common. In the 17th century engraved silver rings were popular as engagement rings. Puritans, however, preferred to give their fiancees thimbles. The Victorians liked to include a beloved's hair in their rings. It sounds off-putting, but they were often decorated with gemstones, and many of them were beautiful. Besides, it’s the thought that counts!

In 1886, Tiffany & Co. introduced the famous “Tiffany setting”, which is ring with six prongs to raise the diamond up from the band. By this time, diamonds were getting more popular as engagement rings, and by the end of the 19th century, affordable wedding and diamond engagement rings were available through mail order. Now in the 21st century diamond rings are pretty much the standard engagement ring, and a study found that more than a third of couples spent at least two months’ salary on the engagement ring.

Not everybody wants or needs a flashy engagement ring. Some women prefer not to wear them at all. But we can’t help wanting to have a look at other people’s bling. Here are five of the most famous and iconic engagement rings.

Kate Middleton
Kate Middleton’s ring was a hand-me-down. It belonged to none other than Princess Diana. This oval sapphire engagement ring is iconic. The 12-carat sapphire is surrounded by 14 solitaire diamonds. When Prince Charles gave it to Diana, the ring cost £28,000 — around $41,000. The ring didn’t cost Wills a cent. He inherited it after Diana's death in 1997.


Beyoncé

It is unsurprising that a woman as impressive as Beyoncé would have an equally impressive ring. The diamond is a whopping 18-carat beauty, but the setting is simple and elegant. Very classy indeed.


Amal Clooney

Lawyer, and wife of George, Amal Clooney has an emerald-cut diamond that is said to be more than 7-carat. However, it was reported that Amal decided to downgrade her ring as she didn’t want it to draw undue attention when she was working. Unless you are a celebrity, a big ring probably isn’t very practical.


Angelina Jolie

Brad Pitt helped design the ring he used to propose to Angelina Jolie. The rectangular diamond ring estimated to be more than 10 carats. The ring took a year to perfect and is said to be worth $250,000.


Elizabeth Taylor

Richard Burton gave Elizabeth Taylor an engagement ring, which is probably one of the biggest, blingiest, and most expensive rings of all time. The rough diamond was found in 1966 in South Africa, weighing a whopping 241 carats. In 1969, Burton bought a 68 carat diamond for Taylor’s engagement ring. Unsurprisingly, she found the diamond too heavy to wear as a ring so she had it turned in to a necklace.