The wonderful story behind the two Cartier engagement rings of Princess Grace of Monaco!
Actress Grace Kelly wed into the royal household of Monaco. Prince Rainier III of Monaco had proposed to Grace in 1955. She had an expensive engagement ring from him at that time. But later, she got another engagement ring from Rainier which was iconic. Both were from Cartier. But besides being a stunning jewelry pieces, they are legendary due to the story behind them.
Grace’s first engagement ring designed by Cartier
Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III of Monaco had met in 1955 at the Cannes Film Festival. They soon began a relationship and Rainier proposed to her the same year. And the engagement ring was a Cartier eternity band set with rubies and diamonds. She had shown off this band at a press conference she held at her parents’ home in Philadelphia in the USA in January 1956. She was totally smitten by the ring.
Rainier chose the beautiful precious gems from heirlooms from the Monegasque royal family. He selected red and white gems since they matched the colors of the flag of Monaco.
Grace’s second engagement ring
When Rainier and Grace wed on 18 April 1956, the world saw a completely different ring on the ring finger of her left hand. It was bigger in size and had a 10.48 carat diamond studded in it. The same company Cartier also designed and manufactured this stunning piece. It had a huge emerald-cut stone in the center and two baguette-cut side stones flanked it on both sides.
Though the design was a simple one, the large size of the stone itself was a show-stopper. Grace had worn it in her last film High Society (1956). In the movie, she plays a rich socialite and had three love interests with one fiancee. She had to wear an engagement ring in the film and she preferred to use her own for it. At one point in the film, a character passes a remark on the large size of the diamond in the ring. And in another scene, Grace is shown polishing the ring and admiring it.
More on Cartier’s work and collection
There is a rumor that Rainier actually made and gifted Grace the second engagement ring for the movie. But this could not be confirmed. Other royal experts however state that Rainier actually made the ring for Grace and not for the film. They add that the first engagement ring was only a placeholder and the second ring was the real engagement ring. And Grace continued to use both the rings during her lifetime.
Film Director Alfred Hitchcock had introduced Grace to Cartier and she was its huge fan. An entire room of Cartier’s New York boutique is dedicated to Princess Grace. When it first opened, the owners kept the actual second engagement ring of Grace at the collection. But later, they replaced it with a replica and the ring is back in the collection of the House of Grimaldi.