Kate Middleton‘s engagement ring was iconic long before Prince William slid it onto her finger. Royal devotees know that the ring belonged to Wills’s mother, Princess Diana, before it graced Kate’s finger, but even the most die-hard pop historians may not know that the ring actually caused a bit of a stir when the Princess of Wales debuted it. Why, exactly? It has to do with exclusivity—or the lack of it, actually.
According to Harper’s Bazaar, the royals actually turned their noses at the 12-karat stunner at first. It’s not because it was blue. It actually doesn’t have anything to do with the actual ring, either. It’s more about how it got to be Diana’s ring. The Daily Mail reports that the white gold-and-diamond (14 of them, to be exact) ring, which features a now instantly recognizable Ceylon sapphire, was featured in jewelry house Garrard’s catalog. That means that anyone could have purchased it—if the had $60,000 to spare, that is. Because it wasn’t custom-made or commissioned by the royal family and it was available to the general public, the House of Windsor felt that it was just too common.
“Crown jeweler Garrard featured the piece in its catalog,” the Daily Mail wrote. Diana chose the ring herself, which may have been one more reason the conservative royals didn’t like it. But that fact alone makes it a little more special to Kate. When asked about the ring in 2010, she gushed about what it meant to her and the symbolism that it holds. During the interview, she said, “It’s beautiful—I hope I look after it! It’s very special.”
It’s tough to think about another piece of jewelry that holds so much meaning to Kate and William, but it’s clear that history has been rewritten when it comes to this particular piece. And for anyone looking towards the future, little Princess Charlotte could be getting it next, adding another layer of sentiment and significance to an already storied stone.