The Princess Diana engagement ring gets a 21st-century revamp
The Princess Diana engagement ring gets a 21st-century revamp

The Princess Diana engagement ring gets a 21st-century revamp

Garrard’s 1735 collection inspired by Princess Diana’s engagement ring, a classic oval sapphire surrounded by a halo of diamonds, has inspired a new collection. Blaze is a riotously coloured, highly textured range of contemporary jewels that plays upon the oval shape and classic colours of emerald, ruby, sapphire and diamond, but that’s where the similarities end.

Where 1735 is safe and elegant, traditional and classic, Blaze is flamboyant, kaleidoscopically coloured and quite unlike anything seen before from this very British house. For Garrard’s creative director, Sara Prentice, to create a modern range inspired by a classic motif would mean flipping the whole idea of an oval surrounded by stones on its head.

Earrings from the new Blaze collection

Earrings from the new Blaze collection

GARRARD

“Arguably the most famous engagement ring in history, Diana’s sapphire engagement ring was encircled by a halo of diamonds, set in an 18-carat white gold,” she says. “The 1735 classical cluster motif has been inverted throughout the jewels in the Blaze collection.”

That oval central stone? Gone. In its place is its outline, picked out in tiny diamonds or pink sapphires in the middle of a big cocktail ring, or suggested in part by the curve of a pair of ear climbers in verdant shades of green. And that’s where Blaze really comes to life — through colour.

“The colours of Blaze are an interpretation of the four precious gemstones of the 1735 collection: emerald, sapphire, ruby and diamond. The collection of stones in each Blaze colourway was certainly not by chance,” Prentice explains.

So those four big colourways (in gemstone speak “the big four”) are a riot of shades and cuts. Emerald is represented by deep-green sapphires, leaf-green tourmalines, bright green tsavorites and cool, opaque chrysoprase. Ruby gets the pink treatment with pink sapphires, magenta rubellites and delicate, blossom-pink opals; while the classic deep-blue Ceylon sapphire becomes brighter and lighter via purplish tanzanites, pale aquamarines and sky-blue turquoise. Diamond’s most desirable colourless nature is depicted with white opals and their flashes of icy blue, gleaming white mother of pearl and opaque white agate, with a sprinkling of white diamonds to suggest the outlines of an oval. It’s an entirely different colour palate to classic ruby red, sapphire blue, emerald green and diamond white.

“The colours of Blaze are an interpretation of the four precious gemstones of the 1735 collection: emerald, sapphire, ruby and diamond”

“The colours of Blaze are an interpretation of the four precious gemstones of the 1735 collection: emerald, sapphire, ruby and diamond”

GARRARD

It’s not just the variation of shades that makes up Blaze, though — it’s the entire spectrum of cuts. Rather than sticking with one gemstone shape, Prentice has combined rounded cabochons with long, tapered baguettes, ovals and pears in a harmonious jumble, creating a textured effect that is in deep contrast to the use of empty space to represent the missing oval central stone.

“In reality the stone colour and cut have been carefully considered to achieve a balanced aesthetic,” Prentice said. “This took a long time working with the stones, [deciding] what should sit next to what, not only looking at the various tonal colours but also the translucency versus opacity, faceted versus cabochon, straight edges versus curved, and all to sit neatly within an oval.”

And while Diana opted for the most classic engagement ring style, Prentice doesn’t shy away from naming her muse for this very contemporary collection.

“Princess Diana was my muse for this collection, not just because of her Garrard cluster engagement ring, but because of her style, her elegance and her attitude,” she says. “Diana was a trailblazer and Blaze is modern and bold, just as she was.”

garrard.com

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