The Pop Culture History of This Controversial Engagement Ring Style
The latest celebrity engagement between Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande solidifies the official comeback of the disputed pear-shaped diamond engagement ring.
On June 15, the Saturday Night Live star posted a black-and-white photo on his Instagram account with his hand positioned under Grande’s left hand and on her ring finger sparkled a $93,000 rock. His caption: “u know what you’d dream it be like? it’s better than that.” And, in the comments, Grande affirms, “[heart emoji] so much better.”
Before the social media announcement, the 24-year-old pop singer was seen rocking the three-carat bling during her June 2 iHeartRadio’s Wango Tango concert in L.A., and then again on June 14 at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards in New York City.
“I’ve definitely seen an uptick in people asking for pear-shaped diamonds. Our customers come to us for something different, not mainstream. And a pear shape meets that criteria,” says Eliza DeRosa , co-owner of Nine Roses Jewelers in Richmond, Virginia. “But maybe that’s part of the ‘comeback’ the pear shape it making. I think it could be a reaction to the traditional round solitaire; wanting to do something different, and less expected.”
Prior to Grande and Davidson’s betrothal, other recently engaged celebs have been donning pear-shaped jewels. While performing together in concert in Philly, Offset popped the question to Cardi B with an eight-carat teardrop solitaire. Leftovers actor Chris Zylka asked Paris Hilton to marry him with a 20-carat gem that is estimated at a whopping $2 million. And singer Joe Jonas proposed to Game of Thrones actress Sophie Turner with a three-carat sparkler.
The stone’s shape, which is a hybrid of the marquise and classic round cut, is known for elongating fingers, and made its first appearance in the 1400s when Flemish jeweler Lodewyk van Berquem (the inventor of the diamond-polishing wheel) cut an asymmetrical diamond. In 1476 van Berquem cut a pendeloque-shaped stone, which later evolved into the Mazarin cut in 1650, Peruzzi cut in the 1700s, and then the modern pear silhouette in the 1900s.
“When I think of pear shaped gemstones, traditional Indian jewelry comes to mind. Think about all of the intensely ornate jewels of the Maharaja,” says DeRosa. “Nesting or stacking rings are very popular right now and the pear shape give you an interesting set up for that.”
While 2018 may be the year of the pear, the shapely stone was once controversial. Back in 2001 when Sex and the City‘s “Just Say Yes” (Season four, Episode 12) aired, the stone got a bad rap when Carrie Bradshaw discovers that Aidan is going to pop the question with one.
Carrie stumbles upon the engagement ring in Aidan’s duffle bag, while he is showering. And, after seeing the ring, Carrie starts gagging, covers her mouth and sprints to the kitchen sink to vomit.
To solidify her distaste for the ring, when Carrie and the gals are lunching, she anxiously tells them Aidan is going to propose and says, “Well… that’s the other thing. The ring was not good.”
When the girls ask her what it looks like she responds, “It was a pear-shaped diamond [cue Samantha making a face of disgust] with a gold band.”
“Ahh, ick!” Charlotte cries.
“Ooof, no wonder you threw up,” adds Samantha.
While Carrie’s reaction to the ring symbolizes a deeper problem—her hesitation to walk down the aisle and fear of commitment—a more surface-level analysis is that teardrop solitaires were a big no-no in the early aughts.
Since SATC’s anti-pear sentiments, the recent resurgence of the stone has been steady.
The SATC girls—whose endorsements and disapprovals guided pop culture between 1998 and 2004—let the world know that pear-shaped diamond engagement rings were a fashion faux pas.
Since SATC’s anti-pear sentiments, the recent resurgence of the stone has been steady. Jessica Simpson’s first (from 98 Degrees’ Nick Lachey in 2002) and second (from NFL player Eric Johnson in 2010) engagement rings both incorporated the pear silhouette.
In 2005, Victoria Beckham traded in her pink diamond wedding ring for a 17-carat pear-shaped stunner perched on a platinum pave band. Singer Josh Kelley asked Katherine Heigl to marry him in 2006 with a three-carat teardrop diamond flanked by pave stones.
In 2009, Jason Hoppy popped the question to the Real Housewives of New York star Bethenny Frankel with a 6.5-carat pear-shaped gem that she upgraded to an even more stunning pendeloque two years later, according to E! Online. (The two have since divorced.) And, Avril Lavigne’s ex-husband Chad Kroeger proposed in 2012 with a 14-carat teardrop bauble.
Prior to the early aughts, pears were held in high esteem. Frank Sinatra presented Mia Farrow with a nine-carat pear-cut engagement ring in a cake box in 1966. And the most well-known pear-shaped diamond in the world belonged to the jewel queen herself, Elizabeth Taylor.
In 1969, Richard Burton bought Taylor the 68-carat “Cartier Diamond” for $1.1 million, which was renamed the Taylor-Burton Diamond. Taylor had the rock reset into a necklace, which she wore for special occasions like the 42nd Academy Awards and Princess Grace of Monaco’s 40th birthday celebration.
What are your thoughts on pear-shaped stones? Tell us in the comments.