8 of the Rarest Engagement Rings in History

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Engagement rings are more than a formality – they are the physical version of a promise. For some couples, an engagement ring isn’t important. For others, it’s just the symbol of the promise that matters. Poor guys in old movies might use a tied piece of string to make the promise. In Parks and Recreation, Andy proposed to April with a Ring Pop.

But for many people, especially celebrities, the engagement ring has to match the press they hope (or expect) to receive from their engagement news. With Vogue and People and Time using zoom lenses on their fingers as they exit cars, what’s sparkling in the middle of them becomes a matter of pride. At that point, the bigger and sparklier, the better. No expense is too high, which is why this list starts in the millions of dollars and never looks back.

Here are the 8 rarest engagement rings in the world, adjusted for 2021 dollars.

  1. Paris Hilton
  2. Proposal: 2005
    Couple: Paris Hilton and Paris Latsis
    Value: $6.58 million
    Ring: 24c diamond (canary cut)
    Paris Hilton
    photo source: International Business Times

    When two Parises got engaged, they consummated the promise with a ring that cost $4.7 million back in 2005. Now, the 24-carat canary cut diamond ring is worth over $6.5 million. The engagement between Paris Hilton and Paris Latsis only lasted 6 months but the ring will last forever.

    Did you know?

    Hilton is becoming known for being the modern queen of expensive engagement rings. Her 2021 engagement to a venture capitalist named Carter Reum begat a ring worth over $1 million, her fourth to date.

  3. Beyoncé
  4. Proposal: 2007
    Couple: Beyonce and Jay-Z
    Value: $6.6 million
    Ring: 18c diamond (emerald cut)
    photo source:Jonathan’s

    Jay-Z proposed to Beyoncé in 2007 with this 18-carat emerald-cut diamond engagement ring, with accents of micro-pavé diamond stones [insert “put a ring on it” joke here]. He bought it for around $5 million, which makes it worth about $6.6 million now.

    Lorraine Schwartz designed the ring and gave it a split-shank platinum band. The couple let her do her designing without any input from them.

    Did you know?

    Rather than design their own rings, Jay-Z and Beyoncé had the roman numeral “IV” tattooed on both their ring fingers. If you follow the couple closely, you may have seen the ink without knowing what it meant. Here’s your answer: they were both born on the fourth day of a month and they set their wedding date for the 4th of April.

  5. Anna Kournikova
  6. Proposal: 2004
    Couple: Anna Kournikova and Enrique Iglesias
    Value: $7.5 million
    Ring: 11c diamond (pear shape)
    Anna Kournikova
    photo source:Become Gorgeous

    This 11-carat pear-shaped champagne and cognac diamond ring was presented to the tennis star Anna Kournikova in 2004. Her relationship with singer Enrique Iglesias has never been the most talked-about in the tabloids. However, her engagement ring is a tough act to follow.

    The gem was sourced from the Argyle mines in Australia and at the time was worth about $5 million. Today, its value has increased to $7.5 million.

    Did you know?

    The Argyle Diamond mines in Western Australia produce 90% of the world’s pink and red diamonds, as well as being one of the largest producers of all diamonds. Despite exceeding 14 million carats per year in output, the gem-quality stones are proportionally very scarce here. This is the price of quantity.

  7. Kim Kardashian
  8. Proposal: 2013
    Couple: Kim Kardashian and Kanye West
    Value: $9.4 million
    Ring: 15c diamond (cushion cut)
    Kim Kardashian
    photo source: Brides

    Kanye West proposed to Kim Kardashian in 2013 with this flawless cushion-cut Type IIa diamond, which he bought for $8 million. Considering the purity and size of the stone (15 carats), this is a pretty good deal.

    The stone is nestled on an ultra-thin pave band that is also speckled with smaller diamonds. In 2016, Kanye followed up his first performance with another engagement ring for Kim, though the second wasn’t quite as glamorous.

    Did you know?

    During Paris Fashion Week of 2016, Kanye and Kim were robbed at gunpoint and had their valuables stolen from their hotel, which in total were valued at an estimate of $10 million in losses.

  9. Elizabeth Taylor
  10. Proposal: 1968
    Couple: Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton
    Value: $10.7 million
    Ring: 33.19c diamond
    Elizabeth Taylor
    photo source: Estate Diamond Jewelry

    The actor Richard Burton bought the ring made from the stone called the Krupp Diamond in 1968 for over $300,000 for his fiancée, the actress and glamor model Elizabeth Taylor. Taylor became famous for her jewelry. This particular engagement ring was sold at a Christie’s auction to a Korean jewelry company in 2011 for $8.8 million, making it worth over $10.7 million in 2021.

    This ring, known now as the Elizabeth Taylor Diamond, has a large culet face, named for the Krupp family whose daughter, Vera Krupp, owned the ring until her death in 1967. Burton bought it and presented it to Taylor aboard his yacht, the Kalizma.

    Did you know?

    As a preface to things to come on this list, Taylor wore this lavish ring to the 40th birthday of her friend and colleague, Grace Kelly, then the Princess Grace of Monaco.

    However, this engagement ring is not actually the largest owned by the couple. The stone now known as the Taylor-Burton diamond, purchased in 1969 by the couple for over $1,000,000, was a 68-carat stone and the most expensive publicly sold jewel at the time.

  11. Mariah Carey
  12. Proposal: 2016
    Couple: Mariah Carrey and James Packer
    Value: $11.4 million
    Ring: 35c platinum diamond (emerald cut)
    Mariah Carey
    photo source: Wonderwall

    The jewelry designer Wilfredo Rosado made this ring for Mariah Carrey in 2016 when her boyfriend, James Packer, proposed. The billionaire investor from Australia knew what he was doing when he dropped $10 million on this 35-carat platinum diamond ring (now valued at over $11.4 million). The emerald-cut diamond is surrounded by tapered baguette-cut diamonds.

    She was seen in 2016 showing off the ring in an E! interview as the world clamored over the news.

    Did you know?

    This story ended in separation. The engagement only lasted 10 months and Carey demanded to keep the ring. However, to keep things anonymous, she sold the ring to a jeweler in Los Angeles in 2018 for a bargain price – $2.1 million. That jeweler ended up being the only winner here.

  13. Jackie Kennedy Onassis
  14. Proposal: 1968
    Couple: Jackie Kennedy and Aristotle Onassis
    Value: $20.4 million
    Ring: 40.42c diamond (marquise cut)
    Jackie Kennedy Onassis
    photo source: Jonathan’s

    Jackie Kennedy received the proposal of Aristotle Socrates Onassis, one of the world’s wealthiest men, in 1968, years after her previous husband, Present John F. Kennedy, was assassinated. Onassis, a shipping magnate, a passionate Turkish-born Greek man, and a man who knew how to get what he wanted, bought her a 40.42-carat diamond, marquise cut, that was one of only 18 stones that were cut from the infamous Lesotho brown diamond, mined in South Africa.

    The Lesotho III, as the ring is known by jewelers, has been increasing in value for many years. The price listed is not a valuation, but just the original purchase price adjusted for inflation. The actual value of the famous stone is likely far greater. Sadly, Jackie’s was only worn on her finger twice before moving to a bank vault and then later sold with her estate after her death.

    Did you know?

    In an interesting twist of fate, we must again preface our top spot by remembering that Aristotle Onassis actually fought with Prince Rainier III over shipping control in Monaco in the 1950s, leveraging his ownership of the Monte Carlo Casino and SBM against the prince. Small world.

  15. Grace Kelly
  16. Proposal: 1955
    Couple: Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III of Monaco
    Value: $41.4 million
    Ring: 10.47c diamond (emerald-cut)
    Grace Kelly
    photo source: Baunat

    The rarest engagement ring in the world is Grace Kelly’s. When Prince Rainier III of Monaco proposed to actress Grace Kelly in the Christmas season of 1955, he fulfilled the ultimate fairytale. Every little girl that has ever dreamed of being a princess watched with ambitious envy as Grace Kelly retired from the screen and became an actual European princess in the mountain palace of Monaco.

    After they met at the Cannes Film Festival, Rainier couldn’t get her out of his mind. This is reflected in the ring that he had Cartier design for her, which featured a 10.47-carat emerald-cut diamond and two side stones of platinum. At the time, he paid $4,060,000 for it. In 2021 money, this makes it the most expensive engagement ring in modern history, costing over $41 million today. And that doesn’t even account for its nostalgic value!

    Did you know?

    Grace Kelly met Cartier designer Alfred Durante while touring the New York City boutique with Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock’s films often revolved around jewels, though the diamond necklace Kelly wore in To Catch a Thief was a fake. The dazzling ring she wore in High Society, however, was her actual engagement ring!

The Takeaway

The rarest engagement rings exist in a sweet spot between dazzlingly rare, valuable stones and the property of famous glamor models, singers, and actresses whose engagements made the front page of history. If you ever thought your wedding arrangements were expensive, imagine dropping tens of millions on the engagement ring alone. These are the folks who did.


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