Chris Jackson/Getty Images Kate Middleton wearing her sapphire and diamond engagement ring
When a member of the royal family puts a ring on it, it normally comes with a heavy dose of history and sentiment.
When Prince Philip proposed to Queen Elizabeth back in 1947, he used diamonds from a tiara belonging to his mother Princess Andrew of Greece to make a stunning diamond engagement ring for his bride-to-be. In doing so, he started quite the trend in repurposing heirloom jewels for royal brides.
“It’s wonderful because it gives an old piece of jewelry new life,” jeweler to the royals, Annoushka Ducas, tells PEOPLE. “There’s something so lovely about handing down the memories, the narrative and what that piece of jewelry reminds you of, it’s a complex thing.”
Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle
Fast-forward 70 years and Prince Harry followed suit, this time with a bittersweet nod to his late mother Princess Diana; using two stones from her personal jewelry collection to design Meghan Markle‘s engagement ring. “The little diamonds on either side are from my mother’s jewelry collection to make sure that she’s with us on this crazy journey together,” he said at the time of their engagement in 2017.
DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on the day of their engagement announcement
Of course, the most famous hand-me-down is the sapphire engagement ring first worn by Princess Diana and currently worn by her daughter-in-law Kate Middleton. Featuring