While it’s true enough that all engagement rings have a story to tell (given that they do hold the title for ‘most romantic piece of jewellery’), there are some with a little bit more than others.
Vintage rings that have lived through different decades (or even centuries), custom rings with hidden messages or personal inscriptions, or rings passed down through generations, these pieces have fascinating stories behind their glittering façades.
And given their higher rates of disposal incomes and their seemingly infinite access to the finest jewellers in the world, celebrities often find themselves with rings of such backgrounds.
Here, we round up the most storied engagement rings in celebrity history.
The ring: A 33-carat cushion-cut diamond on a platinum band.
The story: When Elizabeth Taylor married her fifth husband Richard Burton, he actually proposed with a 18.6-carat emerald pendant necklace. Then, after they had divorced and then reconciled, he gave her the colossal 33-carat Krupp diamond, which Taylor had made into a ring. It appeared in several of Taylor’s films and was re-named the ‘Elizabeth Taylor Diamond’ after her death.
The ring: A Georgian trio of rose-cut diamonds, backed by foil and set in silver-topped gold.
The story: If we got our hands on all the jewellery in our Instagram Saved folders, we’d be very happy women. Zoë Kravitz found and fell in love with her engagement ring on Instagram, after spotting on The One I Love NYC’s page. A (very good) friend of Kravitz’s sent the ring to Kravitz’s boyfriend, Karl Glusman, who ended up buying the one-of-a-kind antique for her before anyone snapped it up.
Queen Elizabeth II
Diana, Princess of Wales
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
The ring: A set of pear- and princess-cut diamonds on a yellow-gold band.
The story: After getting married at city hall (in one very chic Zara suit), Emily Ratajkowski wore just her gold band for a while, before debuting her massive engagement ring in 2018. The ring was designed by both Ratajkowski and her husband, Sebastian Bear-McClard, who was working on the movie Uncut Gems at the time.
“We liked the idea of two stones instead of one and spent a long time looking at rings with multiple stones for inspiration,” Ratajkowski said of the ring. “At one point it included a ruby as the second stone, [but] ultimately we loved the idea of the femininity of the pear contrasted with the architecture of the princess.”
“We wanted the stones to be the main attraction, so we went for the lowest possible setting in white gold and yellow gold band to match my wedding band.”
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex
The ring: A 3.5-carat diamond, surrounded by round-cut stones, on a platinum band.
The story: Like Kate Middleton’s, Meghan Markle’s ring was also designed with Princess Diana in mind. As revealed by Prince Harry in an interview, all the elements of the ring were carefully thought-out. The centre stone was sourced from Botswana, his “second home”; the surrounding stones came from Diana’s personal collection; and it was set in yellow gold because “that’s favourite.” After welcoming baby Archie in 2019, Meghan had the ring re-designed to sit on a micro-pave band.
The ring: A 4-carat cushion-cut emerald on a thick gold band.
The story: When Olivier Martinez was planning on proposing to Halle Berry, he tapped his Parisian neighbour and legendary jeweller Robert Mazio to create it. It reportedly has “esoteric codes” inscribed into the band which can only be understood by the couple themselves.
The ring: A round-cut-diamond on a brushed gold band.
The story: Our favourite kind of engagement ring? One that’s designed exactly to our tastes and grows over time. “I told [husband Justin Ervin] everything I didn’t want and then I told him a few things that were very important to me,” Graham revealed about her ring. “I knew I wanted a flat diamond so I could put my hand in my pocket easily. I also didn’t want traditional, super-shiny gold. I don’t want it to be too much, I like it to be just enough, so I picked brushed gold.”
She also added: “I added another diamond and band at our fifth anniversary, and for our upcoming tenth anniversary I will get another diamond. We take our anniversaries very seriously and our relationship is important to us. Getting to ten years nowadays is quite rare and no easy feat. I feel like I deserve that diamond!”
The ring: A 6-carat yellow diamond on a yellow-gold band.
The story: While Rebecca Romijn’s Lorraine Schwartz ring may have started out traditional, it was anything but after a redesign in 2008. After having to remove her ring due to swelling fingers during her pregnancy, Romijn had the ring altered so that the diamond dangled off the band. She said of the chan
The ring: An emerald and diamond on a silver encrusted band.
The story: After proposing to Fox in early 2022, Machine Gun Kelly took to Instagram to describe the sweet back story to designing the engagement ring alongside famed British jeweller, Stephen Webster.
“I know tradition is one ring, but I designed it with Stephen Webster to be two,” the rapper wrote.
“The emerald (her birth stone) and the diamond (my birth stone) set on two magnetic bands of thorns that draw together as two halves of the same soul forming the obscure heart that is our love.”