It's been seven years since Kate Middleton and Prince William's engagement, but the stunning 12-carat oval sapphire engagement ring that marked the occasion remains a phenomenon. Surrounded by a whopping 14 diamonds, the iconic ring that once belonged to Prince William's late mother, Princess Diana, has a fascinating history that dates back a couple of centuries. According to Vogue, the inspiration behind the royal bauble's beginnings dates back to 1840, when Prince Albert had British jeweler Garrard create a sapphire-and-diamond brooch for his future wife, Queen Victoria. “She found she loved it so much that she decided to wear it on her wedding day as her something blue on the front of her dress,” Garrard’s current creative director, Sara Prentice, tells the magazine. Queen Victoria treasured the piece so much that she wore it up until her husband's death in 1861.
Prince Albert's beautiful wedding gift has since remained a crown heirloom, having been worn by Queen Elizabeth on several occasions (including this past summer). But the stunning blue brooch really inspired Prince Charles when he was picking out a ring for his future wife. “It was said to be a strong influence on Prince Charles when he came to Garrard to purchase a ring for Lady Diana. He actually ended up setting a sapphire cluster ring for her, which was later given by Prince William to the Duchess of Cambridge on their engagement,” Prentice says. “I would imagine growing up being surrounded by your mother and your grandmother [with] such beautiful, incredible jewelry…it would stick with you.” Prince William will eventually inherit the crown jewels, which include the gorgeous brooch that carries so much significance. So, we won’t be surprised when Kate Middleton pays homage to the sapphire accessory by wearing it alongside her stunning engagement ring that was inspired by it.