If you’re looking for engagement ring inspiration, it’s helpful to look to the rich and the famous for inspiration. Why is this? Famous people are often the first to set the trends, but they also have the budget to create new trends. When money is no object, you can afford to be more adventurous in your choices.
Celebrities are also fond of a timeless engagement ring choice. They are often guided by tradition, which helps those with a more modest budget to read between the lines of trends and tradition to choose something truly timeless.
Should an engagement ring follow the trends?
While you want to choose something current and contemporary, you don’t want it to be too outlandish and trend-driven. Trends in jewellery come and go, and you can replace smaller pieces in your jewellery collection without much concern. But your engagement ring is something that you can expect to wear for the rest of your life, so you don’t want it to be dictated by a brief trend that happened to be popular around the time of your engagement.
Engagement rings will typically fall into traditional, vintage, classic and contemporary style categories. And while these are certainly influenced by trends that come and go, the vast majority of engagement rings follow a tried and tested template.
Notable celebrity engagement rings
If you’re looking for engagement ring inspiration, look to these famous faces and their other halves for some unique and eye-catching choices. You might not have the same budget, but you can certainly find a way to replicate them.
1. Princess Diana
Princess Diana's engagement ring, now worn by Kate Middleton, features a 12-carat sapphire surrounded by 14 round cut diamonds set in white gold. It gained immense popularity and became a symbol of elegance and grace.
The ring also stirred up a lot of controversy at the time, as Princess Diana selected a ring from the Garrard's catalogue, which meant that other people would have access to the same ring design – provided they too could afford the £47,000 price tag.
This was in contraction to the tradition of engagement rings being exclusive to the Royal Family. This was a typical move for Lady Diana, who was also known as The People’s Princess.
Beyoncé's engagement ring from Jay-Z is a stunning 24-carat emerald cut diamond that is reportedly worth around $5 million. The ring features a pave split shank setting made from platinum, which is a fitting choice for the award-winning artist.
3. Kim Kardashian
Kim Kardashian's first engagement ring from Kanye is a cushion cut white diamond that weighs in at an impressive 15 carats. It was thought to be worth around $4 million but was sadly stolen from the star in 2016 following a robbery. He later gave her a 20 carat emerald cut diamond, thought to be worth around $1.5 million.
4. Blake Lively
Ryan Reynolds proposed to Blake Lively with an oval-shaped, light pink diamond surrounded by smaller pavé diamonds on a rose gold band. The 7 carat diamond breaks with tradition with its delicate pink hues, which are set in a pave diamond and rose gold band. The ring is thought to be worth around $2.5 million.
5. Angelina Jolie
Brad Pitt designed a unique engagement ring for Angelina Jolie featuring a unique Art Deco style. The large central emerald cut diamond is flaked by trapezoid diamonds that extend down the shank of the ring, which is naturally made from platinum. The ring is a completely custom design and is thought to be worth around £79,000.
6. Elizabeth Taylor
The Hollywood actress was married 8 times, so there is no shortage of rings to take inspiration from, but it is the diamond from her marriage to Richard Burton that is her best known. Although married to him twice, he never gave her an engagement ring. For the first proposal, he gave her a Bulgari brooch, and for the second, he gave her a 32 carat sapphire pendant. Five years into the marriage, he finally gave her the famous $1 million stone that was renamed the Taylor-Burton diamond.
7. Amal Clooney
The human rights lawyer met her husband while on holiday in Lake Como. After a fairytale 6 months, Clooney proposed with a stunning emerald-cut diamond said to be worth around £640,000. It features two baguette cut shoulder stones set into the platinum band.
8. Meghan Markle
Prince Harry designed the ring that he would eventually give to Meghan Markle on a picnic blanket in Kensington Palace’s gardens. The custom design features a trio of diamonds from Princess Diana’s collection, including a large cushion cut central diamond from Botswana, where the couple spent a lot of their early relationship hiding away from the press. The original gold band was upgraded in 2019 with a thin micro-pave band.
9. Jennifer Aniston
Jennifer Aniston's engagement ring from Justin Theroux is a large oval-cut diamond that is around 9 carats. It is set in an elegant yellow gold solitaire setting. Theroux is said to have worked alongside the jewellers to design the piece, which seems to be a theme among many star engagement rings. Aniston is said to have described the ring as “a rock”, which is thought to be worth around $500,000.
10. Ariana Grande
In 2020, Dalton Gomez gave pop star Ariana Grande a custom designed moi et toi ring in a unique asymmetrical style. It features a large oval diamond thought to be between 5-7 carats, and a pearl, which is said to have significant sentimental value. The pearl comes from her Grandfather’s tie pin. Reusing gems and pearls from family collections is a popular choice and a great way to keep the cost of the ring down if you’re thinking of trying something similar. Grande’s ring is thought to be worth around £300,000.
11. Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey's engagement ring from James Packer showcased a massive 35-carat diamond, which was one of the largest celebrity engagement rings at the time. At the time it was said to be worth around $10 million, but as we know, engagement rings don’t always retain their value. Following a messy divorce, Carey sold the ring for just over $2 million. The ring features a large emerald cut diamond with two tapered baguette diamonds on the side.
12. Victoria Beckham
David Beckham proposed to Victoria with a marquise-cut diamond engagement ring, known for its unique shape. However, this isn’t the only ring in her collection. David has reportedly upgraded the ring several times over the years, including with a large emerald cut diamond with side baguettes, and an oval-cut champagne pink diamond. Victoria’s most recent is a yellow square cut diamond.
13. Scarlett Johansson
Third time’s a charm for actress Scarlett Johansson, who received an 11 carat diamond worth around $400,000 from her partner, Colin Jost. Perhaps the most unique celebrity engagement ring out there, Johansson selected a light brown oval cut diamond in a very unique offset setting.
14. Halle Berry
Olivier Martinez proposed to Halle Berry with a one-of-a-kind custom ring. The emerald-cut emerald ring features two smaller diamonds on the side. The unique Art Deco style is thought to be linked to Berry’s birthstone, which is a green peridot. Berry is one of the few stars to shy away from a diamond as the centre stone for her engagement ring. The stunning emerald ring is thought to be worth around £100,000.
15. Gisele Bündchen
Tom Brady proposed to Gisele Bündchen with a solitaire diamond engagement ring estimated to be around 4 carats. The centre diamond is a cushion cut held in place by a platinum band. The large diamond is flanked on each side with baguette cut diamonds. The ring is said to be worth around $145,000.
What do these engagement rings tell us about celebrity trends?
It’s tempting to say that celebrities are only concerned with picking the largest diamond to outdo everyone else, but there is more at play in the way celebrities select their rings.
The majority are custom-made and the groom has some input into the design process. They also commonly use heirloom stones to add emotional significance to the piece. For us normal people, this can be a great way to keep the cost down. Consider re-setting a vintage diamond to offer an updated look, for example.
In terms of diamond cut, many celebrities seem to lean towards an emerald cut with baguette diamonds on the shank. This is a popular choice for larger diamonds as it helps to showcase the intense fire of a beautifully cut stone. If you’re on a budget, you might choose a round cut diamond and surround this with a halo of smaller stones to create the illusion of a much larger ring.
Platinum is often the setting of choice, but white gold, yellow gold and even black ceramic has been used. It’s also not uncommon for celebrities to update their rings over the years, adding pave stones to the setting, or upgrading stones as their budget increases.