Kent Life Wedding Guide - Fit for a princess

Currently causing a bit of a stir in Tunbridge Wells High Street is a spectacular version of the famous 'Diana ring' Prince William used to propose to our future princess, Catherine Middleton. Kent Life takes a closer look...

Amid all the interest and excitement surrounding Prince William’s engagement to Catherine Middleton, speculation about THAT ring has probably topped it all. The Prince chose to propose to his long-term girlfriend with the very same spectacular oval blue 18-carat sapphire and diamond ring that Prince Charles presented to his mother Diana, the late Princess of Wales, on their engagement in 1981.Over in Israel, where Tunbridge Wells jeweller Padani originates, owner Beni Padani realised that he had a bit of a coup on his hands: he just so happened to have a virtually identical ring in his spectacular flagship store opposite the old city of Jerusalem.Lital Arica, who has run the Tunbridge Wells branch since it opened in November 2006, takes up the tale: “The minute Beni heard about the engagement, he said he had to send it over to us from Jerusalem We have it here until mid-February – a ring fit for a princess!”Curious passers-by have been literally banging their heads on the shop window as they bend in to take a closer look, but Lital and her team are happy to show off the dazzling ring that’s on sale for a cool �300,000. While that might be out of the price bracket of many young men preparing to pop the question this year, jewellery industry commentators estimate an 800 per cent increase in sales for rings bearing similarities to the original chosen by Princess Diana herself and considered an iconic piece of jewellery.Whatever your own thoughts about the legacy of the ring Catherine Middleton is now proudly wearing, it’s impossible not to be caught up in the romance of it all and to feel nothing by empathy with the 28-year-old Prince when he explained that giving Kate the ring was his way of ensuring his late mother could be part of the occasion.“It is very special to me,” he said. “It was my way to make sure my mother did not miss out on … the excitement that we are going to spend the rest of our lives together.”


The Facts

•  The Diana/Catherine Padani ring is platinum

 • The claws holding the stone are 18K yellow gold

•  The centre stone is a cushion-cut, 12.59 carat sapphire

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•  The sapphire is surrounded by 10 oval-cut diamonds, F-G colour, VS clarity

•  The sapphire in the ring originates from Madagascar, East Africa

•  The sapphire did not go through the heating processes which are    often used for enhancing the colour and clarity of sapphires

•  The design of the ring is called a ‘Diana setting’ after the  late-Princess Diana’s ring

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