The simplicity of Carolyn Bessette-sapphire Kennedy’s and diamond eternity ring was a tribute to her mother-in-law.
Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy was the face of the ’90s minimalist movement, and her jewellery selection was everything from spectacular. The choice of a simple engagement ring that complemented the rest of her clothing when John F. Kennedy Jr. proposed to Caroline in 1995 makes sense.
In reality, according to Carole Radziwill’s book What Remains, JFK’s eldest son was motivated by a gold and emerald band that belonged to his mother, Jackie Kennedy, which she referred to as her “swimming ring”. Bessette-Kennedy allegedly informed the writer at the time that her platinum engagement ring, which featured round-cut sapphires and diamonds, was “a replica of a ring [John’s] mother wore.” The journalist’s spouse Anthony Radziwill was Jackie’s nephew.
The First Lady’s swimming ring is thought to have been a present from her longtime partner and diamond dealer Maurice Tempelsman. However, there is also some conjecture that a Schlumberger Sixteen Stone diamond that previously belonged to Bessette-mother-in-law Kennedy’s served as the model for the engagement ring. Although Tempelsman is believed to have assisted in the creation of Bessette-band, Kennedy’s jewellery historian Marion Fasel, proprietor of The Adventurine, says Vogue, “I can’t say with definitely which ring was Jackie’s swimming ring.”
What is certain, though, is that Bessette-straightforward Kennedy’s band captured her style just right. It’s easy to see how straightforward the design was when compared to her mother-in-own law’s stunning engagement ring from Van Cleef & Arpels, which had a 2.84-carat emerald and 2.88-carat diamond. According to Fasel, “[Carolyn’s] engagement ring embodied the simplicity of that era.” It had a subtle grace.
Bessette-Kennedy wasn’t the only fashion icon to wear an eternity ring as an engagement band; in the 1950s, Mel Ferrer gave Audrey Hepburn a band studded with baguette-cut diamonds. More recently, Thomas Mars, the actor’s spouse, gave Sofia Coppola an eternity ring from Cartier. Fasel says, “I constantly wonder why eternity bands aren’t more popular; they are so simple to wear, lovely, and contemporary. They are a wonderful alternative to solitaire, but they have never gained the same level of popularity.
Even while Bessette-engagement Kennedy’s ring’s precise history may never be known, it will undoubtedly serve as a constant source of inspiration for brides in the years to come. According to British Vogue’s jewellery director Rachel Garrahan, Bessette-life Kennedy’s and her relationship with John Kennedy Jr. are shrouded in myth and mystery. “Her normally understated engagement ring is the same,”
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