While "alternative engagement rings" have become ever more popular with today's unconventional brides-to-be, choosing color gemstones is not exactly a new idea. Color diamonds and other gemstones can also add an element of glamour and uniqueness. Whether it's Princess Diana’s oval Ceylon sapphire surrounded with a halo of solitaire diamonds or Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’s duo of diamond and emerald flanked by tapered baguettes, famous engagement rings display the individuality of each wearer, all telling fascinating stories.
Ahead of her engagement, the late Diana, Princess of Wales, chose a stunning 12-carat oval sapphire ring that would become one of the most iconic pieces of jewelry in the world. It was a break in royal tradition not to have a custom-made ring, but this was in keeping with her style as a modern princess. Made by Garrard and said to be inspired by a broach belonging to Queen Victoria, this was the same engagement ring with which Diana’s son Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, proposed to then-named Kate Middleton (now Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge).
Queen Elizabeth's granddaughter Princess Eugenie of York also wears a unique engagement ring, with oval cut padparadscha sapphire encrusted with diamonds that give the ring a warm glow. Padparadscha sapphires are so named because the color resembles the lotus blossom. The ring was designed by Princess Eugenie's partner Jack Brooksbank, and was inspired by her mother’s Burmese ruby halo engagement ring, which Prince Andrew gave Sarah Ferguson in March 1986.
When Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis married John F. Kennedy in September 1953, she wed with an 2.84-carat emerald and 2.88-carat emerald-cut diamond flanked by tapered baguettes. The First Lady later had her ring remounted to replace the baguettes with 2.12 carats worth of round brilliant and marquise cut diamonds.
Celebrities such as Jessica Simpson, Heidi Klum, Jessica Biel, Halle Berry, Eva Longoria, Mary-Kate Olsen, Anna Kournikova, Priscilla Presley, Elizabeth Hurley and Olivia Wilde have all favored engagement rings with vibrant, colorful stones. Scarlett Johansson, who got engaged with Saturday Night Live's Colin Jost in May, revealed her 11-carat light brown, Type IIa diamond engagement ring later in the summer. Ryan Reynolds proposed to Blake Lively with a 12-carat light pink diamond engagement ring set in rose gold, worth $2 million. Ellen DeGeneres proposed to Portia de Rossi in 2008 with a 3-carat marquise-shaped diamond surrounded by pink diamonds, designed by Neil Lane.
Of course, white diamond engagement rings are considered classics for a reason. Elegant and sophisticated, these traditional styles are timeless. One of the most buzzed-about couples, Alex Rodriguez popped the question to Jennifer Lopez with an emerald-cut diamond, believed to be around 15 carats.
Whether it is a padparadscha sapphire or a pink diamond, color stones can celebrate a storied betrothal and epitomize the unique style of the married couple. This autumn’s Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite auction is awash with vivid color, featuring elegant rings of color diamonds and gemstones. Notable pieces include a 11.88 carat Burmese ruby ring by famed jeweler Raymond Yard, among other timeless creations.