Apparently when Alexis Ohanian proposed to Serena Williams in 2016 it involved a mystery flight to Rome. The destination was a restaurant and the exact table where the couple had first met two years earlier. The tennis champion announced it via Reddit (the company her now-husband founded) and soon after debuted what some refer to as the eighth wonder of the world – a ring featuring a (very) large oval diamond nestled between two (slightly) smaller semi-circle diamonds. The piece of precious-stone phenomena is rumoured to be worth over US$2 Million.
Perhaps, this experience is not quite the same for anyone not defined as the greatest athlete of all time. Regardless, the moments between dating and engaged is poignant for everyone. For my own, the setting was exquisite (a beautiful yacht docked in the harbour) even if the catering was a little rustic (an 8-hour-refrigerated barbecued chicken with a 6-pack of Baker’s Delight’s finest rolls). The ring was perfect, though – yet to be designed, as per the bride’s request.
For a friend of mine, her special moment followed months of conspicuously strewn jewellery catalogues before accepting one very risky ring-in-an-oyster restaurant proposal. Another friend booked the getaway herself, then suggested an immediate evening walk so that her clearly sick-with-nerves boyfriend could finally utter something about marriage before passing out on one knee. Another friend continues to wear the ring she received from her ex-husband some years ago, always explaining “why should the jewellery suffer, too?”
When Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton on a remarkable African safari he got down on one knee before famously presenting her with his late mother Princess Diana’s ring. Yet, when his brother Harry proposed to Meghan Markle (albeit still with an incredible three-diamond sparkler) it was simply at home following an evening of Ina Garten’s famous roast chicken. While it’s unclear if they also had a six pack of bread rolls, I like Harry’s style – realising diamond moments are in the every day.
The point is, whether a proposal’s grandeur shifts the axis of the planet or arrives over a chicken roll at sunset, engagements are spectacularly memorable. And it’s for this reason that its piece of symbolic, earthly representation, the ring, is of utmost importance.
It might seem strange to talk about trends when it comes to engagement rings, however, even the slightest tweaks to notable styles can create looks that forge a deserved originality. You might find yourself smitten by a heavenly, spherical halo, or a sculptural one-of-a-kind gem or even a classic pedestaled centre stone you never imagined yourself swooning over. So, use our edit of some of the world’s most spectacular celebrity rings to begin your own path, and quite literally design your future. Or perhaps leave this page open next time your soulmate looks over your shoulder.
Natalie Portman’s Halo
After meeting on the set of Black Swan in 2009, Benjamin Millepied and Natalie Portman fell in love and became engaged the following year. Since then, her spectacular engagement ring has become an object of desire for many a bride-to-be. In fact, it’s circular setting, or halo, remains one of the most popular styles to be requested of jewellers. The halo design is unique as it sits as a single, central brilliant cut diamond circled by one or two diamond circumference borders. Hardy Brothers’ round brilliant cut halo engagement ring as well as their oval style perfectly blend the classicism of a solitaire with the vintage detail of mesmerising diamond surrounds.
Amal Clooney’s Emerald Cut
Much like the woman herself, Amal Clooney’s engagement ring is immeasurably classic, tasteful and impressive. Following her engagement to George Clooney in 2014, the human rights lawyer took more than a few breaths away when she began wearing her supersized emerald cut diamond ring. Flanked by tapered baguettes along the band, this cut of diamond is widely renowned to be one of the most clear and spectacular. It’s also one of the most exciting when it comes to style revival. Hardy Brothers’ Trilogy diamond engagement ring is centred by a 3.04 carat emerald cut diamond with two baguette diamonds set either side. This ‘trilogy’ is a unique statement of sophisticated precision.
Hailey Bieber’s Oval Solitaire
Apparently in 2012, long before she became engaged to Justin Bieber, Hailey (then Baldwin) retweeted a quote that said “If my ring isn’t as big as Blake Lively’s, I don’t want to get married”. Funny, yes, but also a little prophetic. Because, after Bieber proposed in 2018, Baldwin was spotted wearing an enormous oval diamond, one suitably symbiotic to the one given to Lively from Ryan Reynolds in 2012. Its oval geometry, perched upon a fine, yellow gold band, forms a refined silhouette. One that draws grandiose attention to the diamond’s prestigious presence. Hardy Brothers’ oval cut diamond engagement ring is set on an 18 carat gold band is a piece for the ages – classic, sophisticated and strikingly chic.
Kate Upton’s Round Cut
Kate Upton and then-boyfriend Justin Verlander became engaged in 2016, with the model debuting her (rumoured) US$1.5 Million round cut sensation at the Met Gala soon after. The enormous size and setting caused more than a few camera shutters to go into overdrive on the red carpet. Set in a six prong claw and supported by a platinum band laden with diamonds, it is hard to surpass. The round cut is classic for a reason, but tweaks to its tradition by way of band, shape and setting has seen this style remain traditional while refreshingly modernised. Hardy Brothers’ ‘Quintessential’ round cut engagement ring builds on their core collection with a new take on the style. Supported by a band of round cut brilliant diamonds, this claw-set masterpiece is a showstopper, on the red carpet or not.
Victoria Beckham’s Precious Gem
When Victoria Beckham became engaged to David Beckham in 1998, she was 24 and still known as alter ego Posh Spice. While the ring, a marquise-cut diamond was memorable, since then her husband has presented her with no less than fifteen subsequent engagement rings throughout the course of their marriage. This is a tradition I wholeheartedly support. In her collection are at least three gargantuan emerald cut diamond rings, a whopping 17-carat pear cut solitaire and various precious stone creations. If we had to choose just one? For uniqueness alone, it would have to be the cushion-cut emerald set amidst a sea of swirling diamonds. There’s just something about green, and it’s not just our jealousy. Hardy Brothers’ mint tourmaline and diamond ring is inspired by Art Deco opulence and draws attention to its unique and exceptional gemstone.
Hardy Brothers is one of Australia’s most celebrated and distinguished jewellery companies. Founded in 1853, their impressive 168 year legacy draws on flawless attention to detail, superb artisan quality and a long-held commitment to traditional craftsmanship. Visit hardybrothers.com.au