Buying an engagement ring is the start of your ‘happily ever after’. Every bride wants to feel like a Princess on her wedding day – and it starts by choosing a royally-approved engagement ring. Vintage sapphires are amongst the most popular choice for antique engagement rings, with a rich history amongst royal families across the globe.
Sapphires are a part of jewellery history and have been associated with royal families since the Middle Ages. The precious gemstone was seen to symbolise heaven by English clergymen. In Ancient Greece and Rome, blue sapphires became associated with the ‘evil eye’, protecting against evil spirits.
Today, most of us think of one of the most iconic engagement rings of all time. The late Princess Diana’s 12-carat sapphire engagement ring that Prince William gave to Kate Middleton when they got engaged. These style icons are not the only royals with sapphire engagement rings.
If you want a ring with a piece of history behind it, consider getting a royally approved sapphire engagement ring from our curated collection of vintage rings.
What Does a Sapphire Engagement Ring Symbolise?
Sapphire rings first became associated with wealthy families during the 14th and 15th centuries as an alternative to emeralds and rubies. The blue sapphire was believed to represent commitment, truth, and romantic love, making it a popular choice for early engagement rings.
When diamonds began to flood the jewellery market in the 18th and 19th centuries, sapphires became more desirable, making them the go-to choice for royals and wealthy families. Many sapphires are rarer than diamonds, including the Kashmir and padparadscha sapphires.
The Rise of Sapphire Engagement Rings
Sapphires are considered one of the ‘big four’ stones for engagement rings. If you want an alternative to a vintage ruby engagement ring or aren’t a fan of emeralds, a sapphire might be the one for you.
Sapphires rate just below a diamond on the Mohs scale with a nine rating, making it a durable stone that will become a family heirloom. Sapphire engagement rings first rose to popularity during the Victorian era, often set on a yellow gold band with a simple silhouette, when diamonds became easier to source. Our Victorian sapphire and diamond 18ct gold gypsy ring is a classic example of rings from the era.
Princess Diana’s Engagement Ring
Princess Diana’s engagement ring is the most famous sapphire in the world. The 12-carat oval Ceylon sapphire ring is now worn by the current Princess of Wales.
The ring has an interesting history, breaking from previous royal protocol by being chosen from a catalogue. Anyone with enough disposable income could buy the same ring from Garrard, while other jewellery brands offered more affordable alternatives.
Although the ring was not a custom piece, Garrard was a royal jeweller and took its inspiration for the ring from a sapphire brooch given to Queen Victoria by Prince Albert. It served as the ‘something blue’ on their wedding day. Queen Victoria is famous for her love of sapphires, and many of the sapphires in circulation amongst the royal family today were originally owned by her.
Other Royals with Sapphire Engagement Rings
Princess Diana wasn’t the only royal to choose a sapphire engagement ring. Every generation of the British royal family has seen at least one sapphire ring. Lady Elizabeth, the mother of Queen Elizabeth II, was given an oval sapphire by the Duke of York in 1923. Princess Anne has had two sapphire engagement rings, choosing a cabochon cut sapphire for her second marriage.
Princess Eugenie also has a sapphire engagement ring, though hers is notably different from the iconic blue sapphire worn by Kate Middleton. Eugenie’s rare padparadscha sapphire has a floral pattern inspired by the ruby and diamond engagement ring her father gifted her mother, with a pink and orange tone.
FAQs about Vintage Sapphire Engagement Rings
Vintage engagement rings are popular as a sustainable alternative to buying a new ring, especially for diamonds and precious stones. Our vintage sapphire rings have distinctive designs you won’t find from contemporary jewellery brands, offering a timeless elegance and a piece of history.
Where to Buy Antique Engagement Rings
At Ellibelle Jewellery, we’re a family-run vintage jewellery store run exclusively online. We specialise in finding one-of-a-kind antique and vintage engagement rings, focusing on Art Deco, Edwardian, Victorian, and Post-War styles. Our curated range includes selection of more contemporary vintage engagement rings.
Sapphire engagement rings are one of the most popular options at Ellibelle Jewellery. You’ll find a range of sapphires from classic royal blues to paler Ceylon hues. Our gemstones are professionally verified, and we offer free worldwide shipping.
What is Considered a Vintage Engagement Ring?
An engagement ring is considered ‘vintage’ when it is at least twenty years old. By comparison, an engagement ring is usually considered an ‘antique’ when it is at least one hundred years old.
Do Vintage Engagement Rings Keep Their Value?
Vintage sapphire engagement rings kept in good condition maintain their value, becoming a family heirloom. Unlike modern styles, vintage rings have more character and distinctive silhouettes that have stood the test of time. A vintage ring is a better long-term investment than a modern style.
Should a Couple Buy a Vintage Engagement Ring Together?
Gone are the days when only the person proposing shopped for the ring. An estimated 75% of couples are now both involved in choosing a vintage engagement ring, with almost 30% saying they’re both ‘very’ involved in selecting the ring.
As an online exclusive jewellery store, you and your partner can explore our selection of vintage engagement rings from the comfort of your own home.