These Are the Most Influential Celebrity Engagement Rings of All Time

updated Sep 16, 2020
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graphic of celebrity engagement ring trends
Credit: Apartment Therapy

On Sept. 1, the night of Patrick Mahomes’ Super Bowl ring ceremony, the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback proposed to his girlfriend, Brittany Matthews, with another kind of ring: a massive, rectangular stunner. Earlier in the summer, Demi Lovato announced her engagement to actor Max Ehrich with a gorgeous series of beach photos—including a close-up of a giant, emerald-cut diamond ring. In 2018, Nick Jonas shut down New York City’s Tiffany & Co. so that he could shop for Priyanka Chopra’s ring in private, and Justin Bieber put a reportedly-half-million-dollar oval bauble on Hailey Baldwin’s finger.

From Kate Middleton’s 12-carat sapphire to J.Lo’s pink diamond from Ben Affleck, in recent history, celebrity rings have significantly influenced engagement ring trends.

(Image credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

“[A] very influential design of the last decade has been a halo of diamonds and diamonds along the band with either a cushion cut or round stone,” says Chrissy Bertolli, jewelry designer and owner of Christine Guibara Jewelry. Celebrities who have sported this ring include Jessica Alba, Sofia Vergara, Molly Sims, Natalie Portman, and Gwyneth Paltrow (who had a similar design from ex-husband Chris Martin).

The emerald-cut diamond also is a classic design that celebrities have embraced since Grace Kelly’s engagement. When betrothed to Prince Rainier III, the Hollywood actress wore an emerald-cut ring with baguette sides. “This is a classic,” says Bertolli. “Many celebrities since Grace have opted for this design. Elegant, simple, timeless.”

David Foster proposed to “American Idol” star Katharine McPhee with an emerald-cut stone; George Clooney popped the question to Amal Alamuddin with a seven-carat emerald-cut diamond; and Brad Pitt gave Angelina Jolie an emerald bauble with graduated baguettes. “This ring was all over the internet and magazines,” says Bertolli.

Lauren Conrad’s yellow gold solitaire engagement ring was so popular that the reality TV star debuted a version of her ring in her jewelry line with Kohl’s, LC Lauren Conrad Fine Jewelry. “(It’s) one of the most popular requests that I get, especially if the girl is a gold girl,” says Bertolli. “A platinum solitaire is its more classic cousin, but many girls want something just a bit more unique or like the gold to go with their coloring.”

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While Elizabeth Taylor has always adorned herself in stunning gemstones, her Asscher-cut diamond ring from her first marriage to Richard Burton is believed to be one of her favorites and now is valued at around $9 million. “This is really the ring to end all rings! It’s massive and only fit for a jewelry lover as hardcore as Elizabeth Taylor,” says jewelry designer Sarah Swell. “The stone was cut prior to the 1920s and spurred a renewed interest in both large stones and the Art Deco era.”

Celebrities like Pippa Middleton are fans of the geometric design. Her antique three-carat Asscher-cut diamond is surrounded with a halo of smaller diamonds.

While large diamond rings are traditional, celebrities have ventured out of the solitaire confines for other unique designs, like the eternity band.

When Marilyn Monroe was engaged to baseball star Joe DiMaggio, she donned a baguette-cut diamond eternity band. “While many choose this as a wedding band or anniversary ring, this has been a very popular style for many years,” says Bertolli.

Mel Ferrer proposed to Audrey Hepburn with a white gold diamond eternity band, and then gave her rose gold and yellow gold wedding bands. “This really signified that you don’t have to have the diamond solitaire to be stylish,” says Swell. “Also, it was perhaps the first time we’d really seen the idea of stacking rings, or swapping out rings for different occasions.”

(Image credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

While Meghan Markle’s cushion-cut round diamond flanked by two smaller stones will be influential for its classic design, it’s also the sentimentality and ethical sourcing behind the ring that is an increasing trend when couples are selecting engagement rings. The center stone of Markle’s ring is from Botswana, while the two diamonds surrounding it are from the late Princess Diana’s personal collection.

“While this sounds simple, I think it marks a distinct shift in thoughts surrounding the purchase of an engagement ring. Yes, the diamond is still important, but even more important is the story,” says Swell. “Also, the value in knowing your partner truly listens to what matters to you and goes the extra mile to design a ring themselves or incorporate personal details. These are things money cannot buy. Dare I say priceless?”