Empress Joséphine Bonaparte

One of the most unique, and certainly influential, engagement rings in history has to be the one exchanged Napoleon Bonaparte gifted his sweet Josephine.


In the late 1700s, Napoleon was a young, middle class officer, and did not have the infamous reputation he would later acquire just yet. Josephine was a widow with two children, whose husband had died at the guillotine. Legend has it that her son went to Bonaparte to ask permission for him to keep his father’s sword, and to show her gratitude for allowing it, Josephine invited Napoleon to her home. It seems like it didn’t take long for them to fall in love with each other, and they married a year later. In the earlier (and happier) days of their marriage, he was known to send sweet love letters with declarations of love like “You to whom nature has given spirit, sweetness, and beauty, you who alone can move and rule my heart, you who know all too well the absolute empire you exercise over it!”


While Napoleon did not have much money at the time, the ring he purchased for the proposal must have cost him quite a pretty penny. It is a one of a kind toi et moi ring with a relatively simple design. Two pear shape stones, one blue sapphire and one white diamond, sit side by side on a simple gold band. Each stone is just under a carat and both have incredible color to them. While their marriage didn’t last, Josephine loved this ring immensely. She kept it even after their divorce and passed it down to her daughter Hortense. It stayed in the royal families until 2013, when it was sold at auction for about $1 million. We love this ring for it’s undeniable individuality and personality. And even though they technically had a pretty tumultuous relationship, it did represent a passionate love. After all, Napoleon's last word was his previous love’s name, Josephine.

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