The 12-carat Ceylon sapphire-set cluster ring from Garrard & Co has spawned countless imitations

Princess Diana's engagement ring is one of history's most recognisable jewellery pieces. And in the latest season of Netflix's The Crown, we see how the 20-year-old got to choose the sapphire-set sparkler from a selection of extravagant rings from crown jeweller Garrard & Co.

Lady Diana Spencer and Charles, Prince of Wales, announced their engagement in February 1981. His Royal Highness popped the question just a few weeks earlier at Buckingham Palace.

Afterwards, while being interviewed for her biography Diana: Her True Story, Diana told journalist Andrew Morton that she laughed when Charles proposed. "I remember thinking, this is a joke, and I said ‘Yeah, OK,’ and laughed. He was deadly serious."

See also: Spotted: Actress Karena Lam Wears Elizabeth Taylor's Wedding Jewellery

Tatler Asia
GREAT BRITAIN - FEBRUARY 24:  Lady Diana Spencer (later to become Princess of Wales) reveals her sapphire and diamond engagement ring while she and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales pose for photographs in the grounds of Buckingham Palace following the announcement of their engagement  (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)
Above Lady Diana Spencer wears her engagement ring as she poses for photographs with her then-fiancée Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (Photo: Tim Graham Photo Library/Getty Images)

The then-soon-to-be-princess chose a sapphire-and-diamond set cluster ring, which boasts a standout 12-carat oval-cut Ceylon sapphire. It was inspired by the sapphire-and-diamond brooch Prince Albert had made by Garrard & Co for his future wife, Queen Victoria.

In Netflix's The Crown, writers suggest that Diana chose the sapphire sparkler because it reminded her of her mother's engagement ring. Plus, the colour blue matched her eyes.

Diana continued to wear her engagement ring even after she and Prince Charles divorced in 1995. After her death two years later, Prince William inherited the ring, which he eventually used to propose to Kate Middleton while holidaying in Mount Kenya in 2010.

Prince Harry inherited Diana's famous emerald-cut aquamarine ring, which his wife Meghan Markle wore on her wedding day.

Have you also been inspired by Princess Diana? Choose from Tatler's edit of diamond-accented sapphire rings that are in stores now...

See also: "I wanted to capture and transform beauty": Boucheron's Claire Choisne On This Year's High Jewellery Collection

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'gallery right' 'gallery right'
Photo 1 of 10 Joséphine Aigrette Impériale ring in platinum set with a sapphire and diamonds by Chaumet
Photo 2 of 10 Ring in white gold set with a sapphire and diamonds by Graff
Photo 3 of 10 Sunflower, Petite Sapphire and Diamond ring in platinum set with a sapphire and diamonds by Harry Winston
Photo 4 of 10 Tiffany Soleste ring in platinum set with a sapphire and diamonds by Tiffany & Co
Photo 5 of 10 Ring in yellow gold set with a sapphire and diamonds by Emma Clarkson Webb
Photo 6 of 10 Ring in yellow gold set with a sapphire and diamonds by Minka Jewels
Photo 7 of 10 Bombe ring in white gold set with a sapphire and diamonds by Theo Fennell
Photo 8 of 10 Ring in platinum set with a sapphire and diamonds by Van Cleef & Arpels
Photo 9 of 10 Cake ring in yellow gold set with a sapphire and diamonds by Arman Sarkisyan
Photo 10 of 10 Harper Sapphire Diamond Halo ring in yellow gold set with a sapphire and diamonds by Ashley Zhang
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