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Kate Middleton's engagement ring spawns sapphire-mania

By The Reliable Source

Kate Middleton shows her engagement ring. (Reuters/Arthur Edwards)

It's royal wedding redux -- at least when it comes to Kate Middleton's oval sapphire and diamond engagement ring. The 18-carat stone, which Prince Charles gave to Diana Spencer 29 years ago, has once again caused a frenzy for blue sapphire replicas, reports the New York Daily News. "Our Web site crashed, phones are ringing like crazy," said Michael Arnstein, chief executive of the Natural Sapphire Co. "We just hope we can handle the demand."

The ring was controversial when Diana selected it from Garrard Jewelers three decades ago -- some Brits sniffed that she should have a custom design -- but it was a huge hit with the public and inspired thousands of imitations. Prince Harry inherited it after his mother's death but gave it to his brother, Prince William, when it was time to propose to the future queen.

The ring originally retailed for $65,000; today, Arnstein estimated it would cost about $500,000. The sapphire alone is worth $300,000, and there are 14 surrounding diamonds set in white gold.

By The Reliable Source  | November 18, 2010; 1:03 AM ET
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