By Michelle Graff
michelle.graff@nationaljeweler.com

With Kate Middleton and Prince William's engagement making headlines around the world yesterday, thus began what is sure to be a long run of scrutiny over the style choices of the soon-to-be princess and—most likely—future queen.

But first up under style scrutiny: her engagement ring, which was actually Prince William's choice. William reportedly popped the question in Africa last month with the engagement ring that his father Prince Charles gave to his mother, the late Princess Diana. The heirloom, crafted by Garrard, features an 18-carat sapphire surrounded by 14 diamonds set in platinum. Priced at $65,000 when Prince Charles proposed back in 1981, the ring today would be valued at about $150,000, jewelry expert Michael O'Connor told UsMagazine.com.

Click here to check out some photos.

It'll be interesting to keep tabs on whether or not Kate's engagement ring sets off a sapphire craze. On Tuesday, after the engagement was announced, designers such as Yael Designs and Tacori sent out photos of sapphire rings of their own.

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Above: This Yael Designs ring in 18-karat white gold features a 6.7-carat blue sapphire and 1.34 carats of diamonds. It retails for $7,608. YaelDesigns.com


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Above: Another style similar to Kate's is this 3-carat oval sapphire ring from Tacori's "Dantela" collection. The price is available upon request. Tacori.com

Kate isn't the only high-profile bride-to-be showing off a gemstone engagement ring recently. Newly engaged singer Jessica Simpson is now sporting a three-stone ring from ex-footballer fiancé Eric Johnson. Designed by Neil Lane, the classic ring features a ruby center stone and pear-shaped diamonds on each side.






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