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Wallis Simpson’s Emerald Engagement Ring

Feb. 11 2014
Once upon a time an emerald engagement ring represented a love that brought down a kingdom. That is the tale of Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson.

Love is complicated. I don’t think many people would disagree with that statement. Sometimes the business of choosing an engagement ring and organising a wedding is a relief in comparison!

We all harbour a secret desire to see love conquer all, and sometimes it does, and sometimes at a price. I came across a picture the other day of Wallis Simpson’s emerald engagement ring and I had never realised just how exquisite it was.

As beautiful as it was, I couldn’t help remembering the rather tragic circumstances surrounding the events this ring was associated with. And yet, in the end, love was chosen above all else.

Love over Power

Wallis Simpson was an American socialite who had been divorced twice. Her relationship with King Edward VIII, one of the most eligible bachelors of the time, was considered scandalous by society in general. However, their love endured the disapproval and Edward eventually relinquished his throne, choosing his love for Wallis over his kingdom.

Wallis Simpson in 1936 by Dr Ghulam Nabi Kazi, Used under a Creative Commons License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode)

Wallis Simpson: the emerald-loving woman who was chosen over her lover’s kingdom.

Once Upon a Time…

Edward first met Ms Simpson in 1931, and was immediately infatuated. Not long afterwards, he began bestowing upon her lavish jewels, some with emeralds so big that they would dwarf the most extravagant emerald engagement ring by comparison. These jewels were so large, in fact, that society of the day refused to believe they were real, initially thinking they were ’costume’ jewels.

But they were real, and they continued to come in droves, in the most varied shapes and (generally large) sizes. From emeralds and diamonds to Simpson’s favourite, sapphires, Edward spared no expense in making sure the woman he loved had every beautiful gem she could ever want.

Ms Simpson’s Exquisite Jewels

After the engagement became a marriage and Ms Simpson became the Duchess of Windsor, the trend did not slow down, and the Duchess’s jewels continued to take London’s collective breath away on a regular basis.

Wallis’ emerald engagement ring embodies the couple’s taste and style beautifully.

The ring was an impressive 19.77 carat emerald set within a stylised leaf border surrounded by brilliant-cut white diamonds.

The most priceless feature of this stunning ring was the intimately personal inscription inside the band that read ‘we are ours now 27 x 36’. The couple apparently frequently used the word ‘we’, as it was composed of their initials.

The couple’s passion for fine jewellery led them to amass a vast collection of exquisite pieces, including that opulent emerald engagement ring, which was recently auctioned at Christie’s. Their tale was a complicated one that did result in love winning the day. However, there was an element of heartache around what should have been a happy occasion.

Designers who love to work with emeralds

Shivani PatelWorcester
Karlin AndersonLondon
Stepan TerteryanLondon
Tina EngellBath
Maria ThompsonLondon