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Kate's royal ring sets trend for new year engagements

KATE Middleton's engagement style is set to sweep the country with top jewellers predicting that replicas of her sapphire ring will be a popular choice for New Year engagements.

Prince William announced he will wed his long-term girlfriend after proposing with a stunning blue sapphire and diamond ring, and jewellers here believe he has set a new trend for 2011.

Boodles, on Grafton Street -- of which Middleton is a huge fan, having attended parties at its London store -- told the Herald that traditional diamonds are about to get some serious competition from the eye-catching precious stones.

"That is what's known as a classic Princess Diana-style ring, which consists of an oval blue sapphire with diamonds claw set around it set onto a simple yellow gold mount.

"I think its going to become hugely popular," said James Amos, of Boodles.

Mr Amos estimated that Kate's flawless ring, which was originally purchased for Diana for £28,000, would now cost about €120,000.

The high-end jewellers has a number of similar styles, including an almost identical one-off oval sapphire ring, which costs €27,000. Mr Amos said 50pc of romantic men still choose the ring by themselves ahead of proposing.

"I'm not sure a man would have the confidence to buy a sapphire straight off because they know they're in safe ground with a diamond but I think, as a result of Prince William, we're going to see real increased interest in sapphires, which were very popular in the 1980s."


December and January are still the most popular months to get engaged and Garret Weldon, of Weldon jewellers on Clarendon Street, also believes that sapphire rings will be a popular purchase for Irish men hoping to follow in Prince William's footsteps by surprising their girlfriends.

"The sapphire ring has always been popular because it is actually traditionally the precious stone associated with making promises.

"I'd say the royal engagement will definitely raise the profile of the style, just like it did when Charles and Diana got engaged," he added.

Weldons have a number of similar styles priced upwards of €2,750. Meanwhile, fashionistas hoping to get their hands on Kate's midnight blue designer dress, which she wore during the couple's first engagement interview, are already too late.

A spokesperson for Harvey Nichols in Dundrum told the Herald that the €460 Daniella Issa Helayel is already sold out.