When Sotheby’s first announced the auction of a 24.78-carat fancy intense pink emerald-cut diamond with rounded corners, flanked by two shield-shaped white diamond side stones and set in platinum, in 2010, it was expected to sell for between $27 million to US $38 million.
Much to the auction house’s delight, the ring, which had previously been sold to its former owner by jeweler Harry Winston in the 1950s, sold to diamond dealer Laurence Graff for $46 million, making it “the most expensive single jewel ever sold at auction at the time.” Naturally, the lucky new owner named the magnificent beast the Graff Pink.
While we firmly believe that neither the size nor the price of an engagement ring has any bearing on the worth of a marriage proposal, the history of how we came to associate them with betrothals is undeniably fascinating.
Considering this got us thinking about some other interesting engagement rings and proposal stories, which, for better or for worse, have grabbed our attention in the past.
Here is the true story of the first diamond engagement ring — plus 4 more weird and notable proposal stories:
1. The first diamond engagement ring was given to Mary of Burgundy by Archduke Maximilian of Austria in 1477
Legend has it that in 1477, Archduke Maximilian of Austria — the future Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I — was the first man to present his beloved, Mary of Burgundy, with a diamond engagement ring (apparently at the advice of his court counsel).
“Maximilian,” the story goes, “set off for Burgundy after arranging a proxy marriage. But he was an impoverished suitor, thanks to Austria’s penchant for war. So, it is said, as he