It is a gem from Sri Lanka that is at the heart of one of the most famous engagement rings in the world. Lady Diana Spencer chose a ring with a 12-carat oval blue sapphire for her engagement to Charles, Prince of Wales in February 1981. The future princes’ choice raised quite a few eyebrows however, since the ring wasn’t unique or custom made, but made available to anyone with the £28,000 to spend on it.
After Princess Diana’s tragic death, the ring was reportedly inherited by Prince Harry. He apparently decided that the jewel should be on the finger of the future queen of England and gave it to his brother Prince William for his engagement to Kate Middleton. William said that this was his way of ‘making sure his mother didn’t miss out on his wedding day’.
On both occasions, jewellery shops around the world started getting calls immediately, making Sri Lankan sapphires the most sought after in the world. And even today worldwide demand far outstrips supplies.