Sapphire and other non-traditional
Celebrity engagement rings
Celebrity engagement rings
From the Victorian times into the 1910s-1920s, those who gave engagement,
Warrington May 1984
Diamond engagement rings first became popular in the 1930s. The slogan "a diamond is forever" was created and popularized by DeBeers in the late 1940s.
We don't all want the gemstone and ring style that we see on everyone else. Rings with an Edwardian or Victorian look and vintage rings, antiques and heirlooms passed down in families are getting more and more popular.
Sapphire Engagement Rings 1910s-early 1920s; Royalty & Celebrities....
Some of the older rings have cuts that we don't see as much today such as the cushion cut, the high-domed 'sugarloaf' cabochon or the rectangular stone set horizontally.
A style of engagement ring seen occasionally these days was especially popular is Edwardian days. It's a slender navette-shape with a center stone (sapphire, your choice) framed by diamonds and more small sapphires. (An example is below.) These designer engagement rings are often beautiful in their simplicity, the Art Deco style.
I met a young woman who said she thought an engagement ring of anything but a diamond would be bad luck. I disagree. It seems that most break-ups and divorces probably started out as relationships with diamond engagement rings, probably more expensive rings in many cases. That's just because most couples still opt for a diamond ring.
Douglas Fairbanks Sr. bought the famous 182-carat Star of Bombay Sapphire, set in a platinum ring from the New York jewelry company, Trabert & Hoeffer.
|18K White Gold Antique|
Natural Sapphire & Diamond
Navette style ring
Their estate in Beverly Hills was known as PickFair. Maybe they were the Brangelina (or Bradgelina) Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie celebrity supercouple of the time.
Mary Pickford bequeathed the gem to the Smithsonian Institution.
There's a popular alcoholic beverage Bombay Sapphire, a British-manufactured gin.
|The Quebec Daily Telegraph|
1923, January 20
In 1936, her husband unexpectedly became king of England when his brother, Edward VIII, abdicated in order to marry the American divorcée Wallis Simpson.
On June 3, 1937, the newspapers had stories about the wedding Wallis Simpson and Edward of Windsor. "Just one ring of late has graced her slender hand, a gorgeous oblong sapphire worn on her engagement finger. Today a wedding band of Welsh gold goes there, too." 2016 will be the 80th anniversary of Edward's December 1936 abdication to marry the woman he loved.
-- The Evening Independent June 3, 1937
Elizabeth's husband became king under the regnal or reign name of George VI.
The fiancee mentioned in this small article at the right would later be known as Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother. In the 1980s, she'll give Diana, the new wife of her grandson, Charles, a large sapphire brooch as a gift.
A dowager defined as a widow with a title or property derived from her late husband. Queen Elizabeth was referred to as the Queen Mother during her widowhood. Queen mother is defined as a queen dowager who is the mother of the reigning sovereign. On the program Downton Abbey, Maggie Smith plays Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham.
Elizabeth was the wife of King George VI and the mother of Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret. King George died February 6, 1952. Colin Firth won a Best Actor Academy Award for playing the king in the 2010 film The King's Speech. Helena Bonham Carter played Queen Elizabeth. The Queen Mother died March 30, 2002.
The current Duke of York is Prince Andrew, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II.
|182-carat star sapphire, The Star of Bombay|
Photographed on tour
at the San Diego Natural History Museum
Celebrity Engagement Rings 1930s-1950s...
Actress Joan Crawford received a 70-carat cabochon sapphire engagement ring from her second husband, actor Franchot Tone to whom she was married 1935-1939. Stories showed Joan Tone wearing sapphire blue suits along with the prized sapphires themselves, all of which made her blue eyes sparkle. Lucky lady.
|Franchot Tone explains that his name is pronounced, "Fran-show"|
The Miami News, March 29, 1941
Crawford starred along with Douglas Fairbanks, Jnr in Our Modern Maidens in 1929.
|In 1940, Laurence Olivier had a ring made for his bride, |
"A huge white sapphire with diamonds,
copied after a costume piece she wore in the movie,"
That Hamilton Woman.
Gene Markey, a highly decorated Naval officer, proposed to Joan Bennett with a star sapphire ring in 1932. Markey was author as well as being a Hollywood producer and screenwriter. Bennett would divorce Markey in 1941. He married Hedy Lamarr in 1939 but they divorced in 1941. In 1946 he married Myrna Loy. that marriage would last until 1950. In 1952, Markey married Lucille Parker Wright. He would remain married to her until his death in 1980.
In 1944, Gail Patrick received an engagement ring with a pearl surrounded by diamonds from second husband Arnold Dean White.
In the early 1930s, actor and comedian Joe E Brown gave his wife a 75 carat star sapphire for her birthday.
Emerald Engagement rings: Ginger Rogers received what was described as "a fabulous emerald ring surrounded by baguettes" from Howard Hughes, only to return it to him when the engagement was called off.
In 1949 when Rita Hayworth married Prince Aly Khan, he gave her a 12 carat emerald ring. Reporting their wedding, a newspaper said, "Atop her red hair sparkles a simple emerald as large as a pre-war loaf of bread."
In 1950 Louella Parsons reports that Errol Flynn gave a big emerald engagement ring to Princess Irene Ghica. The previous year he gave her a pair of emerald earrings. He did not marry the princess but Flynn married actress Patrice Wymore that year.
In 1941, actor Lee Bowman gave his new wife, Helene "a huge topaz engagement ring."
Actress Patrice Wymore received a 6 carat sapphire ring from husband-to-be Errol Flynn. They were engaged in Paris, married in Monte Carlo 1950.
Some people are missing from this list -- saved for the next post. There was an actor known to shower the ladies he loved in sapphires. One particularly huge sapphire became something of a legend, a point of speculation and debate to this day.
One of many coy newspaper and magazine features is an early 1937 item that begins, "Evidently Bill Powell feels better when his girl friends wear sapphires...."
The Bulgari Sapphire Necklace, The Sapphire Sautoir was a gift from Richard Burton. He once said, "The only word Elizabeth knows in Italian is Bulgari."
Actress Jessica Chastain wore one of Taylor's Bulgari necklaces at the Cannes screening of the new digitally re-mastered version of Joseph L. Mankiewicz's Cleopatra marking the 50th anniversary of the film. During the making of Cleopatra, the married actors Burton and Taylor began a scandalous affair.
In 2011, one of her famous necklaces was sold by the auction house Christies with the description: "Suspending a detachable pavé-set diamond octagonal pendant, set with a sugarloaf cabochon sapphire, weighing approximately 52.72 carats, with calibré-cut sapphire trim and bullet-cut diamond accents, to the pavé-set diamond neckchain, spaced by calibré-cut sapphire geometric links, mounted in platinum, 1969, 29¾ ins., pendant may be worn as a brooch. Pendant and neckchain signed BVLGARI "
Elizabeth Taylor’s husband, Michael Wilding, gave her a large cabochon sapphire engagement ring. This was the second marriage for both the bride and groom. They were married 1952-1957. In this instance, too some reports claim that first husband Conrad "Nicky" Hilton to whom she was married 1950-1951, gave her the sapphire.
In August 1984, Taylor broke off an engagement to lawyer Victor Luna and returned his 16 1/2 carat sapphire and diamond engagement ring.
Film executive Dennis Stein gave her what was described as "a huge oval sapphire engagement ring set with diamonds" in December 1984.
Prince Charles and his Fiancee Lady Diana Spencer February 1981...
Buy this poster framed, unframed, choose size
The Royal engagement ring:
If you hear about a sapphire engagement ring of the 20th century, what's the first one you think of? Most people will probably say the one that in 1981 Britain's Prince Charles gave to Lady Diana Spencer / Princess Diana.
It was later given by Prince William to Kate Middleton / Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.
The ring has an oval 12-carat Ceylon sapphire framed by 14 diamond accents.
|Solid Sterling Silver|
Diana/Kate Middleton's Engagement
Ring with Blue Sapphire Cubic Zirconia
The blue sapphire was her favorite gemstone. Replicas of the ring became and continue to be very popular. We know Charles' grandmother, the Queen Mother also received a sapphire engagement ring in the early 1920s.
Some royal watchers had a problem with the fact that the ring could be purchased by members of the public from the Garrard catalogue, saying this was unusual for a member of the Royal Family.
Some thought that the ring should have been unique and should be more expensive. What makes it special and priceless is its provenance and the sentiment attached to it. Once Diana and Charles married she became Diana, Princess of Wales, some called her Diana of Wales.
The Queen Mother gave Diana a brooch featuring a Sri Lankan sapphire the size of a duck's egg set in a double row of diamonds. She had it changed to be the centerpiece of a pearl choker. This is a necklace she wore on a 1985 visit to the White House when she danced with John Travolta. (Please see photo at the end of this page.)
|Royal Engagement - Prince William & Kate Middleton Glossy Photograph|
In 1986 Prince Andrew gave Sarah Ferguson a ruby ring, it's said to match her red hair.
In November 2010, Prince William announced his engagement to Kate Middleton who, for official engagement photos, wore a dress in a complementary sapphire blue color. William said using Diana's ring was "my way of making sure my mother didn't miss out on today and the excitement."
Do you think new Prince George, the baby of Prince William and Kate Middleton will go on one day to present this ring to his bride-to-be?
Kurt Cobain gave Courtney Love a five-carat ruby engagement ring in 1992.
More recent Nontraditional (non-diamond or diamond and other gemstone) engagement rings:
Eric Johnson gave Jessica Simpson a 5-carat ruby ring in honor of her July birthday.
In 2012 the engagement ring Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg gave Priscilla Chan was a deep red ruby bookended by two diamonds. One article reminded readers that "a ruby represents passion and love and can be considered a sign of wisdom."
Olivier Martinez proposed to Halle Berry with a diamond and emerald ring.
Jason Sudeikis gave Olivia Wilde an engagement ring consisting of a diamond surrounded by an emerald halo to match her eyes.
Graham Albert presented Chloé Malle with a Fred Leighton ring featuring sapphires flanked by diamonds. The ring includes a 1920s Art Deco cushion-cut center stone. Vogue editor, Chloé Malle is the daughter of actress Candice Bergen.
Javier Bardem proposed to actress Penélope Cruz with a vintage 3-carat blue sapphire ring worth roughly $30,000.
Rumor has it that David Beckham purchases new and different alternate engagement rings for his beloved wife, Victoria Beckham for different occasions, anniversaries, birthdays. She has a beautiful big sapphire, an emerald and that's not all.
Today brides and fashionistas are also enjoying fancy diamonds that come in colors such as black, chocolate, yellow, green and pink.
Don't think that sapphires are only for women. Many men, then and now incorporated the gems into their accessories, cufflinks and other jewelry.
Travis Banton has designed many of Carole's clothes for both pictures and for her personal wardrobe. He told how he happened to make the first shirtmaker dress which has now become a national institution. It seems that Carole (at the time she was Mrs. William Powell) had a definite hankering to wear Bill's beautiful sapphire cuff links but she had nothing to wear them with. So she said to Banton. "Why don't you design me a dress so that I can wear the links?" He did and that was the beginning of a style that lasted.
-- The Milwaukee Journal - December 1, 1935
Banton was a very influential designer in the 1930s, the chief designer at Paramount Pictures. He went on to work for Twentieth Century-Fox and Universal Studios. He is known for having designed the wedding dress worn by Mary Pickford when she married Douglas Fairbanks. I believe the dress they're talking about is also now more often called the shirtdress. Sometimes they're even designed to look like you're wearing your boyfriend's shirt.
Online I saw that hey are "sometimes called shirtwaist dresses when they first became fashionable during the 1950s." Sort of like saying Marilyn Monroe was the first blonde bombshell. People don't look before the 1950s sometimes.
An article about Mickey Cohen, said to have worked with Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, mentioned that he wore "a star sapphire ring on his right pinky ('on consignment from a jeweler friend,') and a platinum watch and gold cufflinks the size of half-dollars ('all gifts from friends.')
-- The Tuscaloosa News - December 3, 1975
The 2009 New York Yankees World Series Ring is 14K gold, encrusted with 119 diamonds. Its face framed by diamonds with an interlocking NY set in the center all over a large blue sapphire background. Yankee colors are grey and blue. The Yankees won the World Series in 1999, 2000 and 2009 just to name a few. Fans can get different historical Replica New York Yankees World Series Championship Rings
Princess Diana Dancing with John Travolta at the White House, Nov. 9, 1985
In the center of her choker is the large sapphire brooch given to her by The Queen Mother
Buy this poster, framed unframed, choose size
Sapphires: September Birthstone, Symbolism, Old Hollywood favorites of Carole Lombard, Joan Crawford, Mae West, Vivien Leigh
William Powell and Carole Lombard married 1931-1933; their sapphires, My Man Godfrey. Pre-Jean Harlow and Clark Gable
Gems on The Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness Diamond, Sapphires, Emeralds, Opals, Amethyst...
Wear a designer tiara or headpiece, design one of your own on your special day
Wedding, birthday, prom, performance [being revised]
Bill Powell, Jean Harlow and a 152-Carat Sapphire Ring: Hollywood's biggest star sapphire
Masterpieces of American Jewelry by Judith Price
Princess Diana - Her Life in Jewels documentary
The Evening Independent, St. Petersburg, Florida
Ellensburg Daily Record, Ellensburg, Washington
Christie's Auction House
Vogue, Us Magazines
Please Note: The information on these pages is as accurate and updated as often as possible. It is researched and I cite sources regularly. Contrasting stories, with subtle to large differences in information whether in print, online or video/documentaries is commonplace when dealing with public figures, especially those no longer living. As with everything, consider the source and look for verification.