Even as a child, Lady Diana Spencer had always pictured herself eventually wearing a sapphire engagement ring.
Her mother had one, which is probably where the future Princess of Wales found her inspiration.
When given the opportunity to choose the engagement ring given to her by Prince Charles, Diana homed right in on the sapphires, breaking with royal tradition.
Generally, regal brides received unique rings, created especially for them by jewelers vying for the chance to do so. The custom-made jewels tended to be personally meaningful too.
Queen Elizabeth II's engagement ring contained diamonds taken from a tiara belonging to Prince Philip's mother, Princess Andrew of Greece. They had sentimental value for her husband. Princess Margaret's ruby ring was designed by her fiance Anthony Armstrong-Jones. It was clustered in the shape of a rose, as her middle name was Rose.
Diana didn't bother with any of that. Her royal engagement ring came from the catalog.
Granted, Garrard & Co's catalog wasn't the kind that presented jewels in the price range of your average citizen. Princess Diana's sapphire ring knocked Prince Charles back £28,000. But that was still extremely cheap compared to those gems adorning the left ring finger of most royal ladies.
Lady Diana didn't care. It was the one that she wanted.
When Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer became officially betrothed, on February 24th 1981, the press had a field day discussing it all. And pointing out that Diana's engagement ring was still in Garrard's Catalog.
Lucky Garrards had a boom time in sales from suitors keen to impress their brides-to-be with an engagement ring fit for a future Queen.
The press might have sniffed about it, but the only one who really counted was happy. Diana wore the ring that she'd dreamed about since childhood, and she'd won her prince to go with it.