perfect engagement ring
After a diamond engagement ring, an emerald engagement ring is likely to be at the top of any girl’s list of dream engagement jewels. While not as media-friendly or cleverly marketed as its sparkly, pricey cousin, the emerald has a place of honour in the ranks of precious gems, and can make many a fairy tale come true in its own right.
And these magical happy endings are not limited to ‘ordinary’ brides, either. Over the years, a number of celebrities, including Jackie Kennedy and Halle Berry, have had many a happy moment linked to an emerald engagement ring.
To this list, one must also add the name of Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee who, thanks to the attentions of King Edward VIII, eventually became the Duchess of Windsor, and saw the monarch relinquish his throne to marry her. And if this is not the textbook example of a Disney happy fairy princess ending, nothing is.
Mrs Simpson’s story is likely to be familiar to those who have watched the award-winning film, The King’s Speech. While not heavily featured therein, Wallis Simpson appeared in a sub-plot, being frowned upon by the Royal Family due to her status as a divorcee, as well as an American. Nonetheless, Edward did relinquish everything to pursue his beloved, making the path easier for his brother Albert to take the throne. While in the film this plot is used as a way to ridicule the difficult, voluble Edward, the story as it occurred in real life is rather more charming and touching.
Edward first met Mrs Simpson in 1931 and was immediately infatuated. Not long afterwards, he began to bestow upon her lavish jewels, some with emeralds so big that they would dwarf the most extravagant emerald engagement ring by comparison. These jewels were so large, in fact, that society of the day refused to believe they were real, initially thinking they were dressmakers’ jewels.
But they were genuine, and they continued to come in droves, in the most varied shapes and generally large sizes. From emeralds and diamonds to Simpson’s favourite, sapphires, Edward spared no expense in making sure the woman he loved reaped the benefits of being the object of a king’s affection. After the engagement became a marriage and Mrs Simpson became the Duchess of Windsor, the trend did not slow down, and the Duchess’s jewels continued to take London’s collective breath away on a regular basis.
Even into their advanced years, the Duke (formerly King) and Duchess continued to engage in discussion about and the purchase of jewels. According to Simpson, Edward had impeccable taste and a keen interest in the market, which explained the lavish nature of her jewels.
A year after the Duchess’s death, in 1987, her jewels were offered up for purchase by the popular auction house, Sotheby’s. Although the asking prices were not for everyone, you can be sure that the buyer of even Simpson’s smallest emerald engagement ring is likely to have made his or her special someone ecstatically happy.