Meghan Markle’s engagement ring is one of the most instantly recognizable royal jewelry pieces but it’s undergone a subtle design transformation over the years.
The extended Royal Family are known for their epic jewelry, from Queen Elizabeth’s most incredible brooches to the Burmese Ruby Tiara. And amongst all these beautiful pieces are some of the most stunning engagement rings around, including the one worn by the Duchess of Sussex. This diamond ring will forever be looked at with awe by fans and although her and Prince Harry’s fourth wedding anniversary is days away, it seems almost like yesterday since their engagement was announced.
Since then so much has changed for the Queen’s grandchild and his wife. And Meghan Markle’s engagement ring has undergone a change too from its designer’s original vision, though many might not have spotted it.
But why did the Duchess of Sussex change her engagement ring and who was behind the original show-stopping design? We reveal what you need to know...
Why did Meghan Markle change her engagement ring?
Despite retaining its place as one of the most unforgettable royal rings over the years, Meghan Markle’s engagement ring hasn’t always looked the way it does now. For their final Trooping the Color appearance the summer before Prince Harry and Meghan “stepped back” as senior royals, she was seen wearing a slightly altered version of her original ring.
Although not immediately obvious, when you look closely at pictures of the Duchess of Sussex’s ring from the Queen’s official birthday celebrations that year, the band now features rows of dazzling diamonds where once it was plain yellow gold. The decision was reportedly one made not by Meghan herself, but by her husband.
As reported by Marie Claire, the revelation about why Meghan Markle’s engagement ring was changed came from Finding Freedom authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand in their 2020 biography of the Sussexes.
In their best-selling book the pair reportedly claimed that Prince Harry chose to update the ring because he wanted it to match an equally meaningful gift he gave her that spring for their first wedding anniversary.
The authors continued, “On May 19, 2019, Harry also surprised his wife of one year with the gift of a ring that he had created with jeweler-to-the-stars Lorraine Schwartz, a favorite of Meghan’s.”
They went on to allege that the new eternity ring featured a special tribute to the Sussexes’ life together and their role as parents in the form of their and their son Archie’s birthstones on the underside of the band. Already a wonderful symbol of their love story, the subtle change to her engagement ring likely made this piece all the more special.
Now the diamonds added to the band help tie together two of Meghan Markle’s three rings as a wonderfully meaningful - and ultra-fashionable - ring stack.
Who originally designed the Duchess of Sussex's engagement ring?
Showcasing his flair for romantic gestures even in the early years of their relationship, it was Prince Harry who designed the Duchess of Sussex’s original engagement ring. He is understood to have worked with London-based jeweler Cleave & Co on his future wife's jewelry piece.
Speaking to the BBC alongside Meghan after their engagement was announced, the Duke of Sussex, who is sixth in the royal line of succession, explained about all the thoughtful details that went into this original design.
He explained, “The ring is obviously yellow gold because it’s her favorite. And the main stone itself is from Botswana. And the little diamonds either side are from my mother’s jewelry collection, to make sure she’s with us on this crazy journey together.”
“It’s so beautiful,” Meghan added, beaming. “And he designed it! It’s incredible”.
So it seems that the Duchess of Sussex was more than a little overjoyed with Prince Harry’s design choices for her stunning engagement ring back in 2017.
The decision to include the diamonds from Princess Diana’s jewelry collection is especially meaningful and comes after her youngest son is understood to have selflessly passed her stunning sapphire engagement ring to Prince William to propose to Kate Middleton with.
Although it’s said that Duchess Kate’s ring was originally meant for Prince Harry’s future wife, he found another way to ensure Princess Diana was included in Meghan Markle’s engagement ring too.
How much is Meghan Markle’s engagement ring worth?
From the moment Prince Harry and Meghan Markle shared their first engagement pictures with the world, it was clear that her magnificent ring was pretty pricey. And according to the most frequently seen estimates, it certainly was, with several reports suggesting the value of the ring is around £100,000 ($122,336). This has been echoed by Hello!, which reported that it’s thought the approximate value might be only a slightly higher figure of £134,000 ($163,930).
This is significantly less than the value of some of the most magnificent of Queen Elizabeth’s tiaras or royal pieces such as the Nizam of Hyderabad Necklace which could be worth as much as over $82.5M (£60M). However, if Meghan’s engagement ring is close to this predicted cost it still makes it an immensely valuable piece.
How many carats is Meghan Markle’s engagement ring?
As one of Meghan Markle’s most recognizable pieces of jewelry, it’s all too-easy to wonder just how many carats her engagement ring is. Given this is something the Duchess of Sussex herself hasn’t publicly addressed, it’s not been confirmed.
Though the large center diamond in Meghan Markle’s engagement ring alone is thought to be a pretty impressive number of carats, though experts seemingly aren’t quite in agreement on just how many carats the ring is overall.
According to Marie Claire, jewelry experts have reportedly estimated the eye-catching center stone to be around three carats over the years, whilst the surrounding gems could be around 1.2 carats each.
This could supposedly make Meghan Markle’s engagement ring around 6 carats altogether. However, gemologist and Director at Pluczenik Grant Mobley spoke to Bustle back in 2017 about this iconic piece. And according to him at the time, the center stone is roughly around 3-4 carats and he estimated the two diamonds either side as being near 0.75 carats each.
So it seems that when it comes to the larger center diamond in Meghan’s ring the carat weight is thought to be around 3 carats. Whilst the carat weight of the smaller stones appears more difficult for experts to decide upon.
Though given the ranges suggested, it could mean that if the central stone were actually 3 carats, the overall number of carats in Meghan Markle’s engagement ring would be between around 4.5-6.
Ultimately, no matter the cost or the carat weight, Meghan Markle’s engagement ring remains one of the most iconic royal jewelry items and likely holds an immeasurable amount of sentimental value to the Duchess and Prince Harry.
Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas including literature, the British Royal Family and knowing all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and every streaming service out there. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, you can find Emma cooking and watching yet more crime dramas.
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