Congratulations to the Duchess of Cambridge's younger brother James Middleton and his new fiancée Alizee Thevenet! The businessman confirmed his engagement over the weekend, sharing a loved-up Instagram photo of the couple embracing in the Lake District. Alizee looked deliriously happy as she showed off her stunning sapphire sparkler, posing with her hand on her husband-to-be's chest. In honour of the newly engaged couple and the future Mrs Middleton, we're taking a look at how our other favourite former Middleton ladies' engagement rings compare…
James popped the question with an exquisite sapphire, and his choice of rock certainly didn't go unnoticed by royal watchers. Fans were quick to compare Alizee's engagement ring with her future sister-in-law Kate's – both are beautiful large sapphire rings, although Alizee's appears to be an emerald cut while Kate's is oval. In a nod to his French fiancée's heritage, James captioned the sweet selfie: "She said OUI." He then went on to write: "Our secret is out but we couldn't be happier to share the news," adding emojis of a champagne bottle and champagne glasses.
Jeweller Susannah Lovis told HELLO!: "Alizee's engagement ring is an impressive 4.5 to 5 carat emerald cut sapphire. It is elegantly flanked by baguette diamonds in the Art Deco style and most probably set in platinum. If this were a Burmese Sapphire then it would have cost in the region of £30,000 to £50,000."
Jason D'Heureux, creative director of bespoke jewellers Taylor & Hart, also noted how James may have been inspired by his older sisters, Kate and Pippa. Jason said: "From the announcement photo, it's hard to identify the exact size and shape of the engagement ring. Assuming the white space above the blue sapphire is light reflection, it looks like a trilogy engagement ring, featuring an emerald-cut blue sapphire centre (around 2.50 carats), flanked by icy baguette diamond side stones.
"James, being the youngest of his siblings, could have been inspired by his older sisters' engagement rings. Likely, the blue sapphire centre was inspired by Kate's engagement ring, originally worn by Princess Diana, while the baguette diamonds and vintage platinum design was inspired by Pippa's engagement ring. James is embracing the trend of three stone engagement rings which was ignited by Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex. Not only are trilogy engagement rings impactful but they embody the wonderfully romantic sentiment of the past, the present and the future. An enduring symbol of love – we're the champions of the trilogy engagement ring design!"
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The Duchess of Cambridge
The former Miss Middleton said "yes" after Prince William proposed in 2010 with his mother Princess Diana's engagement ring. William and Kate were on holiday in Kenya, and it was a few weeks later that their wedding news was made public. The ring features a 12-carat sapphire surrounded by 14 diamonds set in 18-carat white gold. The design is said to have been inspired by a lavish royal gift from Prince Albert to Queen Victoria in the mid-19th century. It was originally a sapphire and diamond brooch, and the queen wore it on her wedding day.
"[The brooch] was said to be a strong influence on Prince Charles when he came to Garrard to purchase a ring for Lady Diana. He actually ended up setting a sapphire cluster ring for her, which was later given by Prince William to the Duchess of Cambridge on their engagement," Sara Prentice, Garrard's creative director, has previously told Vogue. "I would imagine growing up being surrounded by your mother and your grandmother [with] such beautiful, incredible jewellery… it would stick with you."
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In 2016, Kate's younger sister Pippa became a bride-to-be after her partner James Matthews popped the question. While Kate and Pippa's rings have some marked differences, there are also some striking similarities. Like Kate's, Pippa's ring also features a central stone set in a halo of smaller diamonds. It is also very sizeable!
Diamond expert David Allen of 77 Diamonds told HELLO!: "Pippa's ring is inspired by the art deco style of the 1920s and 30s. Featuring what looks to be a four carat asscher cut diamond, it is surrounded by an octagonal surround of round brilliant diamonds to give it that feel of yesteryear. Asscher cuts are uniquely clear and require a high clarity, so if this were of top quality, this would fetch in excess of £200,000."
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