The long anticipated news of a new Royal engagement on Tuesday was accompanied by some unanticipated news – that Prince William proposed to his fiancé with the iconic engagement ring of his late mother, Princess Diana.

The 18 carat blue sapphire and diamond ring was first chosen by the Princess in 1981 from a selection presented to her at Windsor Castle from the jewellers Garrard. Unusually, it was not a bespoke piece but one that any member of the public would be able to purchase from the jeweller for £28,000. It was most recently valued at £250,000.

Thirty years ago the ring became a style phenomenon with jewellery makers all over the world being asked to either replicate the ring exactly or create pieces inspired by the blue sapphire and diamond combination.

2010 and it is clear that the frenzy has begun already. Minutes after the ring was glimpsed on Kate Middleton’s finger a NY jeweller who specialises in sapphires had their phone ringing off the hook and their website crashing after a deluge of customer orders. High street jewellers are already offering look-a-like rings and commentators are predicting an upsurge in interest for sapphires and other blue coloured stones for years to come.

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