Royal engagement rings have long been a source of fascination to the public due to their enormous value and unique designs. But before the modern engagement rings we know and love got their debuts, Queen Victoria owned one of the most “distinctive” royal sparklers ever.
Charlotte Leigh GIA AJP, Engagement Ring Specialist & Fine Jewellery Designer at Lottie Leigh Fine Jewellery, said: “The most distinctive engagement ring of all was that of Queen Victoria’s who was bestowed a ring from Albert, Prince Consort, in the shape of a serpent, set with an emerald and small rubies.
“Although to us this type of ring seems quirky, it was normal in Victorian times to have stones other than diamonds in engagement rings.
“The serpent was symbolic of wisdom and commitment, and emerald was the Queen’s birthstone.”
Emeralds are an unusual choice for royal engagement rings, but Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor, also famously sported an emerald ring from the former King Edward VIII.
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But it is thought Victoria was buried with the gem rather than be passed on as a family heirloom.
Dedicated to her husband until the end, Queen Victoria was buried alongside Albert at The Royal Mausoleum in Windsor in 1901, 40 years after Albert died.
While no member of the Royal Family has flaunted a snake-themed engagement ring in recent decades, some other iconic jewels have caught the public’s attention.
The 12-carat sapphire and diamond cluster ring that Lady Diana Spencer received from Prince Charles in 1981 has earned status as an iconic royal jewel.
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The royal blue gem was worn by Princess Diana throughout her life, even after she divorced Prince Charles in 1996, and it has become associated with another popular royal in recent years.
Prince William, Diana’s eldest son, proposed to Kate Middleton with the gem in 2010, and now the new Princess of Wales is rarely pictured without the sparkler.
The late Queen Elizabeth II’s engagement ring also became synonymous with the monarch throughout her 70-year reign.
Prince Philip commissioned the ring which features a central stone flanked by clusters of smaller diamonds on either side.
The sparkler was crafted with diamonds taken from a dismantled tiara belonging to Philip’s mother, Princess Alice.
Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex’s engagement ring from Prince Harry is also one of the most famous rings in the world.
A trilogy diamond ring, a central diamond is flanked by two diamonds from the collection of Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana.
The band of the ring is thought to include the birthstones of the four members of the Sussex family.