Sapphire, the September
birthstone is coveted for its array of colors and durability. Along with other
colored gemstones such as emeralds and rubies, sapphires have become popular
alternatives to diamond engagement rings for symbolizing love, fidelity, and
commitment. A holy stone given importance by members of the Catholic Church who
believed that sapphires represented the heavens, it reached stratospheric
popularity when the crown prince of England, Prince Charles proposed
to a shy 19-year-old named Lady Diana Spencer in February 1981.
Contrary to the romantic
mystique that surrounded the young couple, the engagement was anything but.
Much has been said about the life and tragic death of the princess but the way
the proposal was laid out should have been a clear sign that all was not well
from the very beginning.
For starters, Prince Charles
popped the question without a ring! Instead of presenting his future bride with
a customary heirloom or bespoke piece, the prince gave the then Lady Diana a
catalogue from Garrard (the Crown Jeweller at that time) to select a ring of
The gesture raised a few
eyebrows among royal watchers who felt that the future Queen of England should
have been presented with something more unique, special and meaningful.
The ring was later dubbed in popular media as “The Commoner’s Sapphire”
not because Diana was a commoner but because the ring itself was readily
available for public consumption.