Our editors have taken a trip down memory lane to share the sentimental value and cherished memories attached to their engagement rings.
Isabella Foulger, Co-Founder & Editor
My husband has a good friend in Hong Kong, Ahana, who is a jewellery designer. Years before we met, Ahana had said to Tom ‘when you find the one make sure you come to me’. And he did – they worked together to design my ring, which is a beautiful diamond solitaire. He proposed in December 2018, during a walk over to the lake at my grandparents’ farm in Northern Island. It holds a very special spot in my heart as it was my late mother’s favourite place. Tom knew this, so when he got down on one muddy knee on a crisp winter morning, it was just perfect. We then walked back to the house for endless champagne. It was a total surprise for everybody, myself included.
At the time I was working at Brides magazine and I would often leave it open, having circled the rings that I loved. I never dreamt that he would actually take this on board and use it for inspiration, but he did. I knew the solitaire style suited my hand shape, and I love that he chose a low setting, as it never catches on anything so I never have to take it off. I also love that there are diamonds set underneath the solitaire – they are not really visible, but I know they are there!
Kendra Leaver-Rylah, Co-Founder & Editor
We got engaged on my birthday in 2015. We’d taken a private tour of the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London, and afterwards we took a boat ride down the Thames. As we passed underneath Tower Bridge, my now-husband proposed – then we went on to the HMS President to celebrate with all our family and friends.
Unbeknown to me, he had asked my mother for my grandmother’s diamond ring, and had it reset by a jeweller in Rye as a beautiful solitaire on a platinum band. I had previously hinted to my mother that I’d like my grandmother’s ring, but it was a total surprise that he had the diamond reset. I love the shape and the design, but its emotional value is the most important thing to me. It represents an endless circle of everlasting love, handed down and cherished from generation to generation. How it makes me feel when I look at it is the most special part.
Alessandra Frame, Fashion Editor
Years before I got engaged a good friend of mine sent me a ring that she had seen on Instagram saying “this is a bit of you”. It was a very old ring being sold by an antique jeweller in New York and I instantly fell in love with it. I cheekily sent the photo to my then-boyfriend as a ‘hint, hint’, then forgot all about it.
Fast forward to December 2017: we had flown out to Sydney to spend Christmas with my family. We woke up super early on our first morning and decided to go for a walk along the beach to a beautiful coastal lookout. When we got there Adam dropped to one knee and proposed. I was in total shock and when I saw the ring, I couldn’t quite believe my eyes. I instantly recognised it as the one I had sent him years earlier.
In fact, the original antique ring had sold, but Adam had contacted the jeweller in New York, and they sourced a similar old-cut diamond and recreated the setting. The diamond in my ring was cut over 100 years ago which I think is so special. My favourite thing about it is the shape of the central diamond, halfway between a marquise and an oval. It is the most unique and flattering shape: less pointy than a marquise-cut but more elongated than an oval. It has been nearly 10 years since my friend sent me that picture and I still love the ring as much as when I first saw it, which I think reflects its timeless nature.
Francesca Newman-Young, Contributing Editor
Pete proposed in January 2022 on a private bay in Treasure Beach, Jamaica, using a stand-in cubic zirconia ring in the style that he thought I would like. When we got back, we started looking for the ‘real’ ring. I knew I wanted something both classic and unique, but I wasn’t sure on the details.
After a decadent and rather drunken lunch, he took me to Harrods to try on engagement rings and I fell in love with a stunning art-deco style fancy yellow diamond ring. I then met Hannah at Astteria, which specialises in coloured diamonds. She helped me choose a square radiant-cut, fancy yellow diamond which we decided to set with trapezoid white diamonds either side. I love the raised setting as it really enhances how the light refracts off the diamond’s angles. I can’t wait to tell Pete I’d love a yellow diamond eternity band as a wedding ring.
Alexandra Dudley, Lifestyle Editor
We got engaged in Mauritius in January 2020 – it was a complete surprise. Freddie proposed with a vintage Victorian ring sourced by the antique jewellery specialist Humphrey Butler. The ring is made up of five smaller diamonds encased with tiny diamonds. It is a typical Victorian style and suits me perfectly.
People often comment on how sparkly the ring is. Humphrey Butler is an expert when it comes to sourcing the best diamonds and although there is no singular large diamond on my ring it really does sparkle. I cook a lot so something with one single big diamond would have been rather impractical. I had never given any hints but the ring is exactly what I wanted. I think what I love most about it is that Freddie chose it and how perfectly it suits me.
Patricia O’Dwyer, Contributing Style Editor
My engagement ring is a very classic, platinum diamond solitaire. My boyfriend had it made by a jeweller in Hatton Garden in 2020 and picked it up a week before we went into lockdown. He then spent the rest of the year trying to propose: he’d planned to do it at a monastery in the mountains in Majorca, then at The Pig in the Cotswolds on my birthday, but our plans kept getting scuppered by Covid. Eventually he popped the question on New Year’s Eve: we went for our favourite walk around the Chequers Estate, and he suggested going to the top of a hill which we usually skip. That was where he got down on one knee.
He knew exactly what I wanted because I was always very open about my dream ring. I wear a lot of jewellery so I wanted something that would go with everything. I love the timeless simplicity of it – I know it will always be a classic. I wear a lot of gold jewellery and I love the look of mixed metals. It is so special to me. Although, I truly think he could have given me anything and it would have been right because it represents our relationship and that magical moment he proposed.
Alice Barraclough, Contributing Editor
Matt and I got engaged under the Christmas lights at Kew Gardens in November 2022. It was magical. My best friend and husband were in on the whole thing, and managed to capture the moment Matt got down on one knee. I cried, a lot. And kept saying, “really? Are you sure?” in utter disbelief. To make it all the more special, both my parents and his parents were waiting for us at the pub on Kew Green, ready to celebrate.
The ring was a complete surprise – Matt designed it himself, which makes me love it even more. He sourced the central diamond and had it set by a jeweller in Hatton Garden. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t drop a few hints. He knew I wanted a platinum band, and that I wanted something big and sparkly! It’s a round-brilliant diamond with a geometric hexagonal-shaped halo, and it has our initials engraved on the inside of the band. It has an Art Deco vibe, but it’s also super modern. A couple of friends have told me it looks like a snowflake, which seems fitting since it was a winter proposal.
Marie-Claire Chappet, Contributing Editor
Years ago, the topic of what kind of ring I would hypothetically want came up, so I sent my boyfriend a screenshot of one I loved: an art deco platinum and diamond hexagonal design. I later assumed he had totally forgotten, but he saved it and used it as his guide for buying my engagement ring, which is almost identical. He found it in a niche jewellery store in the north of England and proposed on our sixth anniversary in March 2022. We spent the day drinking champagne at Oakley Court in Berkshire and I assumed if anything was going to happen it would be there, but he actually got down on one knee in our bedroom when we got home that evening.
It sounds incredibly cheesy, but I think anything he had chosen and proposed to me with would be ‘the one.’ If he had used a Hula-Hoop I probably would have had it preserved and plated. But the ring was exactly what I had always wanted – classic but a little kooky. My favourite thing about it is that I haven’t seen anyone with a ring quite like it. We took it to Georgina Boyce to have it resized and I couldn’t ask for a more empathetic, smart and caring designer. She is also making both of our wedding rings.
Rosalyn Wikeley, Travel Editor-at-Large
I thought I’d found my dream engagement ring at a kooky jewellery shop in Exeter: it was a square Art Deco ring which wasn’t wildly expensive so the stones weren’t particularly special, but I fell in love with the design and suddenly all the other rings on my radar felt ugly or faddy. I threw all the hints at my boyfriend before we got engaged: a jeweller’s card, cuttings, the lot, but all were missed. Luckily, he took his indecision to my now Mother-in-Law, and subsequently lucked out with a show-stopping family ring. So, no hard feelings. He proposed by the bins outside a South London basement flat (very Richard Curtis) and I was so shocked I honestly didn’t even look at the ring – it could have been a Haribo sweet and I wouldn’t have noticed. It was only the following morning that I properly studied it and realised how pretty it was.
I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful stone to work with – a classic, sparkling solitaire – but I’m no minimalist so I was eager to work with my talented friend, Tessa Packard, to reset it. I wanted to incorporate the symmetry and Art Deco oomph of the ring I’d seen in Exeter, while keeping the family diamond centre stage. Tessa cleverly emulated the Art Deco shapes with criss-cross dips in the platinum surrounding the central stone. These dark borders almost look like ebony in certain lights – they give the ring a vintage look, like a Georgian house with weathered bricks and stories to tell, as opposed to a flashy newbuild. I love how it catches the light but not in an ostentatious way. I was besotted then and I still am now. Not a day goes by when I don’t grin at my left hand. Both my husband and my Mother-in-Law loved it, so I felt as though we had done the original gem justice.
Related Article: How To Choose The Perfect Engagement Ring