The Sri Lankan sapphire from Pelmadulla in Kate Middleton's engagement ring
By M.S.Shah Jahan
Super slim Kate-Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, 29, the princess-to-be has a worry over her engagement ring with Ratnapura sapphire. Kate has slimmed down so much that she had to shrink her famous engagement ring to fit her finger as the dazzling sapphire and diamond band is too big for her size H finger. Princess Diana too wore it on the same finger.
Prince William & Kate-Catherine Elizabeth Middleton ~ pic: http://www.officialroyalwedding2011.org/
A Royal source said: “The band was turning. Kate absolutely adores it and didn’t want to cause fuss. The bride asked Royal jewellers G Collins and Sons to make it smaller attaching two tiny platinum beads to the inside of the bottom of the Sri Lankan sapphire ring from slipping. That will make it a size I, one notch up from Kate’s finger width to ensure it remains comfortable. She was terrified it will fall off during the wedding. A bride’s worst nightmare is looking down and seeing her ring has fallen off. One can only imagine how this will be magnified when you are marrying the future King of England.”
William said he had given his mother’s famous engagement ring to his fiancée so that his late mother would “not miss out” on the royal wedding. In February 1981, when Diana Spencer was placed in the spotlight right after the wedding proposal of Prince Charles, the same spotlight focussed on her wedding ring too. Garrard Jewelers who is the British’s royal family’s official crown jeweller, created a lovely ring out of a magnificent 12 carat oval Sri Lankan blue sapphire of the bluish hue with 14 solitaire cut diamonds on the side, and set in 18-carat white gold forming an elegant and very elaborate setting.
Garrard Jewellers who is responsible to maintain, keep, and secure the jewellery, crown, and treasures of the British monarch, has been serving the monarchy from 1843 up to the present and they supply all the jewellery needs of the Queen and everybody else in the family.
Sri Lankan gem
This 12 carat blue sapphire was born [mined] in Pelmadulla, Ratnapura district. The Queen Elizabeth II selected it out of the array of 50 fine gems displayed at the President’s House by the Sri Lankan gem community for her choice as a gift, when she visited Sri Lanka in 1980.The owner was young Ansar Jabir, scion of Beruwala’s Jabir family. The cost of the gem stone was shared by a few frontline gem dealers of that day.
A diamond may be a girl’s best friend, but a sapphire represents the woman itself. EDB has sponsored a website http:// www.ceylonsapphire.co.uk at a cost of Rs. 3.4 million to promote Sri Lanka as a gem hub and propagate that Diana’s/Kate’s engagement ring sapphire is from Ceylon/Sri Lanka.
Diana’s engagement ring started the trend for other couples to choose colour stones for their jewellery instead of limiting themselves to diamonds. Chief beneficiaries were Sri Lanka, Burma, Madagascar and Kashmir. The latter’s blue sapphires fetch few times more than that of the rest in the international market for its rarity and beauty.
Western media has been wrongly circulating news that the sapphire was purchased from Garrads. Further London’s The SUN newspaper last week quoted the sapphire ring is of £ 32 million value. This is an irresponsible reporting, totally wrong and grossly exaggerated. On November 29, in Christies’ auction in Hong Kong, a fine quality Kashmir Sapphire of 11.24 carats fetched US$ 1,273,823 that is £ 781,500. Presently a 42 carats Kashmir sapphire in New York with a price tag of US$ 10 million is the highest in the market, still far away from £ 32 [email@example.com]. Therefore, £ 32 million value is mere imagination.
A slew of cut-price imitations too hit stores across the world like in 1981 and, with the wedding on April 29 the demand is still high that jewellers all over the world continue to make money even as they struggle to meet the customer demand.
Diana’s engagement ring
The National Sapphire Company based in New York that witnessed surge in business back in 1981 after Diana’s engagement to Prince Charles, witnessed its website crash as online visitors rushed to place orders for the Diana engagement ring replicas immediately after the announcement of the Williams-Kate Middleton wedding. The company has so far sold engagement rings most priced around $2,500. Princess Diana had many fabulous pieces of jewellery and her jewellery collection was estimated to be worth over 30 million dollars.
William used his mother’s dazzling engagement ring to pop the question while the pair was on holiday in Kenya. “I had been planning it for a while and carrying it around with me in my rucksack for about three weeks before the proposal. Any guy out there will know; it takes a certain amount of motivation to get you going. I literally would not let it go, everywhere I went I was keeping hold of it because I knew this thing, if it disappeared I would be in a lot of trouble. It just felt really right out and it was beautiful at the time. I had done a little bit of planning to show my romantic side. It went fine,” said William.
Kate admitted that the proposal had come as a shock. “We were out with friends and things so I really didn’t expect it all. I thought he might have thought about it. It was a total shock when it came,” she said. Asked about the daunting prospect of marrying into the royal family, Kate said: “I know that if I’m working hard and pulling my weight, working hard and playing hard at the same time, then everyone I work with can see that I’m there and pulling my weight”
Wills and Kate first met each other while they were both studying history of art at St Andrews University in Fife, Scotland. Their romance didn’t go public until a skiing holiday in Switzerland in 2004, but the prince scotched rumours of an early engagement, saying: “I don’t want to get married until I am at least 28 or maybe 30.” They split up in 2007 as the demands of the prince’s career in the Armed Forces increased but they were secretly united within weeks. As their long courtship progressed, Britain’s tabloid press dubbed her “Waity Katie.”
The wedding will be the biggest royal event since Prince Charles married Diana 30 years ago. Previous big royal occasions, such as that of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953 or the jubilees of 1977 and 2002, have seen huge celebrations across Britain. Such events also generate greater interest in the royals.
Even though Prince William lobbied for a relatively low-key wedding, suggesting the guest list be stripped of Commonwealth officials, politicians, European royals and newspaper editors, in favour of friends and family, the wedding is still shaping up to be quite a big affair. While Diana/Charles wedding was watched by 750 million people, Kate/William is estimated to be viewed by 2.5 billion all over the world, not only on television but also on Internet, iPad, mobile phone, etc.
The wedding is not technically a state event that somewhat limits the protocol requirements applied to the guest list, but royal obligations still dictate that a large number of the 1,900 or so seats go to guests from the world of politics. Queen Elizabeth II has invited 50 guests, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla chose another 250, the same number as William and Kate invited, while Kate’s family made another 100 invitations. Europe’s royal families, long close to the Windsor’s are expected to be well represented.
William and Kate have showed their modern side by inviting a number of close friends, guests from the charities they work with. Kate has used her influence to invite the butcher, shopkeeper and pub owner from her home village of Bucklebury. Though guest list is still kept secret details have begun to leak out. Soccer star David Beckham will be there with his pop star wife Victoria. Elton John who has been invited because of his friendship with the late Princess Diana, is attending with his gay partner David Furnish.
Some leading religious figures are invited. The Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala, the head priest at the London Buddhist Vihara monastery has been invited primarily to show the royal family and the British government’s respect for Buddhist tradition. Probably he will be one of the few guests at the wedding of the year wearing orange and burgundy Buddhist robes. The list will include Islamic and Hindu leaders as well as those from other faiths.
President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle were not invited and many other international leaders will be watching on TV.
The wedding ceremony is expected to give Britain a much-needed boost, with most of the countries in Europe suffering from crippling spending cuts. In a kingdom forced to tighten its belt, a showpiece royal wedding could lift the national mood, giving subjects a glittering event to focus on rather than the Coalition Government’s spending cuts.
Meanwhile Prime Minister David Cameron, who is holding a street party in Downing Street with his wife Samantha, has urged Britons to follow his lead and hold street parties to celebrate the wedding. “It’s a special day for everyone in Britain. It’s a chance for all of us to come together and celebrate the great things about our country.”
Sandie Dawe, chief executive of tourism agency VisitBritain, said the wedding would be “an enormous boost for the British tourism industry” as the Royals are one of the biggest draws for foreign tourists visiting Britain, and the money that comes into England from tourists will be more than the money put out for the wedding
Details of the wedding dress and the gown’s designer also remain secret. But the bride’s gown will cost 30,000 pounds and Pippi’s [Kate’s 27-year-old sister Philippa Middleton] dress will cost 20,000 pounds. Kate’s make-up will be natural and fuss-free. James Pryce of Chelsea’s Richard Ward Salon, who did Kate’s hair style when she announced her engagement is tasked with creating the royal bride’s hair style. Rumour has it that Kate is considering wearing her hair half-up, half-down and she might opt for flowers in her hair instead of a tiara.
People are anxious to know what jewellery she will wear for her big day. Is that Princess Diana’s Cambridge emerald choker, which is her wedding gift from the queen? Or the necklace presented by King Khalid of Saudi Arabia or a drop diamond necklace from Harry Winston given to the queen in 1979 and loaned to Diana on numerous occasions?
The wedding cake is created by British designer Fiona Cairns of a multi-tiered traditional fruit cake with cream and white icing. The matrimonial dessert will also feature a strong British floral theme, using the intricate piping elements of the Joseph Lambeth method. For the reception at Buckingham Palace, the couple has also asked McVitie’s Cake Company to create a chocolate biscuit cake especially from a Royal Family recipe as per Prince William’s request. To add more icing to the chocolate cake, celebrated Indian choreographer and entertainer Sandip Soparrkar and his dancer wife, Jesse Randhawa, will perform Ballroom dance for guests at the Buckingham Palace.
Besides, Kate Middleton was voted more beautiful than Princess Diana by an online poll conducted by the social networking site BeautifulPeople.com which is headquartered in Copenhagen. “That was a big surprise - that she surpassed [fourth-ranked] Princess Diana,” said Greg Hodge, the managing director of the site. “Kate Middleton comes in very fashion-forward. She’s living this fairy tale and is about to become the most famous princess in the world.”
Bigger fashion icon
Kate was also hailed as a bigger fashion icon in a poll of 2,000 women across the UK. The salute follows her stylish public appearance. Sales of “high-gloss” shampoos and hair lotions have leaped by 27 per cent in the past month as girls rush to copy her shimmering look. Well, after Jacqueline Kennedy Princess Diana romped the world and now it is Princess Catherine’s turn.
Though Kate Middleton wows the crowds, she admits to feeling stressed out about her big day. When she was asked, if she was nervous ahead of the big day, Kate replied: “Yes, of course I am. I can’t believe it’s coming so soon now.” Prince William also recently revealed he was hit by apprehension ahead of the big day and said his knees were “tapping” at the wedding rehearsal.
She will spend her last night as a single woman with her family at the Goring Hotel, not far from Buckingham Palace.
Following the marriage, the couple will live in north Wales, where the second-in-line to the British throne will continue to serve with the Royal Air Force.
William said they were “hugely excited” and “looking forward to spending the rest of our lives together”. Kate said she and the prince would start a family. William while echoing his fiancée’s sentiments said that they would “get over the marriage thing first and then look at the kids”. Oh yes this is the ultimate goal of every couple and the Royals cannot be an exception.
Honeymoon? Well that is also an important subject in this celebrity wedding. It could be in Eastern Europe, Africa or an island in Indian Ocean. On the day Wills & Kate, say “I do”; we people from the Pearl of the Orient, Wish You Both a Happy Married Life!