World’s 10 most Expensive Engagement Rings
Getting married is probably the most exciting proposition in anyone’s life. Something that can be even more exciting is getting engaged to your loved one, and delving in the dream world you propose to be in all your life. Wedding rings play a very important role in any wedding, with the fiancé or would be groom showing his love and earnestness in the choice of the wedding ring he buys for the bride. As the ring is considered to show the measure of love, grooms take extreme care while selecting it.
With a wide range of wedding rings to choose from, the task of choosing the appropriate ring can be quite daunting. The ring has to be well within one’s budget yet be grand enough to capture the heart of the loved one. However, price is not the only criterion, and a man who is truly in love can find just the right ring if only he looks around with patience. The wedding ring is symbolic and used to ‘pledge the troth’ or take a solemn pledge of fidelity that the bride hopes will last a life is considered very special and sacred.
Tracing the custom of wearing wedding rings can be a very interesting exercise. These symbols of mutual trust and respect have often appealed to the imagination of all. This is in spite of the casual and crude remark of a famous poet and moralist who described the wedding ring as a ‘circular instrument found pierced through the noses of hogs, and worn on the fingers of women in order to keep them in control’. While there are several who will readily disagree with such a barbaric statement, the situation today is totally different. However, the tradition of wearing wedding rings continues to this day, and will last for eternity.
The very first wedding rings were probably used by the ancient Egyptians who made it a custom that was studiously followed by all. The man was expected to place the wedding ring on the bride’s finger in order to solemnize the marriage. He was expressing his confidence in her and stating that he believes that she would make a perfect wife who would also be an excellent housekeeper. When it comes to ancient Greeks and Romans, they were believed to follow a custom of presenting a ring to the father of the bride, and this probably descended from the ancient custom of purchasing brides for a price.
A little later, this very same custom was modified, and during the second century B.C., it was the bride who was presented with a ring, often one in gold. There were, of course, wedding rings in gold that were encrusted with diamonds or other precious stones like rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and opals. This was left to the choice of the groom, and depended on the money at his disposal. It was customary for the lady to wear the ring only in public, and to remove it and store it safely at home while attending to the numerous household chores. Very often the groom presented the bride with a second, less expensive ring that she could wear while at home. This ring, surprisingly, was made out of iron, and had tiny key knobs, symbolizing that the woman of the house had the right to the possessions of the household.
The Hebrews had a unique custom of using a wedding ring that was shaped like the roof of a synagogue, or a Jewish temple. The ring was imposing and rather uncomfortable for the wearer. It is large and quite unwieldy, and could not be worn throughout the day. It was often considered a property of the Jewish temple and used to be lent to the prospective wedding party only during the wedding. The ring was worn during the ritual and then returned to the temple. It is believed that custom also included using the ring to hold small myrtle branches during the wedding ceremonies.
It was much later, during the end of the first century A.D. that Christians started the practice of wearing rings at weddings. The rings of that period were rather highly decorative pieces, often engraved with symbolic figures of birds and musical instruments such as doves and lyres or harps. As the Church frowned upon such practices that were considered heathen, the custom was discouraged and done away with for the time being. A few centuries later, the practice was revived, with Bishop Durant dubbing the wedding rings as ‘symbols of union of the hearts’. The English and Irish considered it sacrilegious to not wear a wedding ring. Often, grooms who couldn’t afford a wedding ring, used to rent one for the occasion.
Coming back to the price one has to pay for a wedding ring, it is interesting to note that most people tend to choose rings that far exceed their budget or affordability. However, when it comes to celebrities, price seems to be the last thing on their minds. Here is the list of the world’s 10 most expensive rings:
- ELIZABETH TAYLOR
Rated number one on the list is the ring that was worn by Elizabeth Taylor. This was the ring that was presented by the first of her many husbands, Richard Burton. This was a stunning ring by any standards, and was encrusted with a choice, extremely large Asher-cut Krupp diamond that tipped the tiny jeweler’s scales at 33.19 carats. What’s more is this diamond was flawless, transparent and pure and worth the price. The ring is currently with an Asian collector who bought it at an auction at Christie’s for a whopping $8.8 million in 2011. The current value of the exquisite collector’s item is anybody’s guess.
The ring that caught the fancy of Beyonce Knowles and husband Jay Z is an exquisite diamond ring. It is a Lorraine Schwartz platinum masterpiece that is encrusted with a finely cut octagon shaped stone weighing 18 carats. Rapper Jay probably wanted to propose to Beyonce in style and what better way than giving this elegant ring as a wedding present to the woman he was madly in love with? The ring cost Jay a cool $5 million in 2008. The value of this ring, which is ranked as the second most expensive wedding ring in today’s market leaves many wondering.
- PARIS HILTON
Most people know that Paris Hilton was born rich, inheriting a lot of money that was left behind by Conrad Hilton, founder of Hilton Hotels. In her own right too, Paris is an actress and entertainer with a net worth of over $100 million by conservative estimates. Matching her style and social standing is the stunning 24-carat canary diamond ring set that was presented to her by her ex-fiancé Paris Lastis. The ring, set on white gold ranks third in the list, cost Paris a good $4.7 million in 2012. The rectangular stone has two triangle cuts around it, giving it a unique finish.
- GRACE KELLY
Ranked closely behind Paris’ ring is the engagement ring Grace Kelly got during her engagement. The royal wedding (she married Prince Rainer III of Monaco) present was lavished on Kelly by the prince who doted on her. Kelly has the distinction of having been described as one of the most stylish brides of her time, and was in the league of the Duchess of Cambridge and Victoria Beckham in style and grace. The ring, a Carter diamond, is an emerald-cut weighing 10.47 carats and is currently valued at $4.06 million. This one too features two diamond baguettes on the sides, perfecting the exquisitely cut diamond.
The next on the list, jostling to maintain the fifth place is the Neil Lane blue jagger diamond that Jennifer Lopez loves to wear. Presented by her ex-husband Marc Anthony, this stunning wedding ring features an 8.5-carat diamond. The ring is one of the most expensive and a rare piece that forms a part of the jewelry collection that Lopez owns. Although it is no match for the exquisite wedding ring owned by Kelly, it costs almost as much at $4 million, and is a prized possession that Lopez cherishes. Married in 2004, the couple filed for divorce in 2012, which was finalized in 2014.
- MELANIA KNAUSS
Former model Melania Knauss married real estate magnate Donald Trump in January 2005. She was born in Lower Sava Valley, Slovenia, which was formerly part of Yugoslavia. Trump proposed to Knauss and lavished her with a Graff engagement ring that cost him $3 million, and is ranked sixth in the list. This diamond encrusted ring features an emerald-cut diamond weighing 15 carats. This was Trump’s third wedding, which was solemnized at the Episcopal Church in Palm Beach, Florida. There was a grand reception at the sprawling Mar-A-Lago estate that Trump owned. In addition to the dazzling wedding ring, the other attractions were the 50-pound cake with butter-cream filling.
- JACQUELINE ONASSIS
The least worn engagement ring was probably the one worn by Jacqueline Onassis, and is ranked seventh on the elite list of the world’s most expensive engagement rings. She wore the ring only on two occasions, though the ring cost her second husband, the Greek billionaire Aristotle Onassis a cool $2.6 million. The Lesotho III ring was a diamond encrusted affair that weighed a whopping 40.42 carats. The wedding itself was a very intimate and orthodox ceremony that took place on the private island Skorpios owned by the shipping tycoon Onassis. The guest list included the bride’s mother, and sisters-in-law (sisters of late John F Kennedy) and her Jacqueline’s children as well.
- CATHERINE ZITA JONES
Following closely and ranked eighth on the list is the engagement ring worn by film celebrity Catherine Zeta Jones. The ring is ranked eighth on the list and Jones is probably the only celebrity who still occasionally wears her engagement ring even after being separated from her husband Michael Douglas. This Fred Leighton engagement ring is a vintage affair and features a white diamond that tips the miniature jewelers scales at 10 carats, and is valued at $2.5 million. The large diamond is surrounded by 28 other smaller stones to form a brilliantly dazzling pattern. Rumours are that the estranged couple are working on their marriage and hope to save it.
- ANNA KOURNIKOVA
The next on the list, ranking number nine is the engagement ring worn by Anna Kournikova, the former tennis champion. She has had a long relationship with Enrique Iglesias, often denying rumours about their long expected marriage. However, she was sighted wearing both her engagement and wedding rings in public. The engagement ring is a brilliant pink pear-cut diamond that was commissioned to the famed Argyle jewelers. It weighs 11 carats and features two additional Trillian stones on the sides. The ring was a wedding gift from her fiancé Enrique Iglesias that cost him $2.5 million.
10. CATHERINE “KATE” ELIZABETH
The last, but in no way the least is the engagement ring worn by the Duchess of Cambridge. What lacked in price value was probably made up by the royal finger that wore this exquisite ring. The ring is a blue sapphire weighing 18 carats that had white diamonds encrusted. The gift from Prince William, the then Duke of Cambridge to his wife Catherine “Kate” Elizabeth was later handed down to Prince Charles who presented it to the famous Princess Diana in 1981. Undoubtedly one of the most popular celebrity engagement rings, this one is valued at $137,000 today and figures tenth on the list of most expensive engagement rings in the world.
It still beats researchers and historians as to when exactly the custom of wearing wedding on a particular finger (the third finger, now known as the ring finger) came into being. Some believe that the practice has a scientific basis as the ring finger had a special blood vessel running right up to the heart, and wearing a ring could prove to be beneficial for the heart. Wearing wedding rings on the left hand had a more logical explanation as the left hand was used less when compared to the right, and the wear and tear of the ring was automatically reduced.
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