There’s putting a ring on it, then there’s putting a royal ring on it.
Prince Harry has made no secret of the fact that his girlfriend Meghan Markle is “the one” and with the Suits actress having just reportedly left her day job after seven seasons on the legal drama, it’s certainly not squashing those persistent engagement rumors.
But before any engagement announcement, Harry will need to find a ring. But what sort of ring is fitting for the fiancée of the fifth in line to the throne?
“I think it will be extremely unique,” Leslie Field, author of The Queen’s Jewels, tells PEOPLE, adding that she doesn’t think he will opt for a family heirloom. “I think he will buy her something new and something quite modern.”
While there is an abundance of precious gems in both Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana‘s jewelry collection, Field thinks that Harry will likely go to a high-end jeweler to get something exquisite made, likely in gold as that seems to be Markle’s preference.
“I have an idea Harry is going to choose not to go down the traditional route so much, in that he will not have a sapphire,” explains the royal jewelry expert, who notes that the Queen Mother and Princess Diana both chose the precious blue stone. Diana’s sapphire ring now belongs to Kate Middleton.
While Meghan owns luxe jewelry brand Cartier (she has their Tank Francaise watch and their Love Bracelet), she also favors lower price point jewelry brands such as Missoma and Maya Brenner, opting for delicate, simple pieces, mostly in gold that fit in with her lifestyle. “Meghan’s personal jewelry is very pretty, very delicate and almost always gold,” says Field.
Of course, this is very different to the path that Prince William took, hiding his mother’s 12-carat sapphire and diamond ring in his rucksack and proposing to Kate during a romantic trip to Kenya. “She is very understated in her jewelry and I think she will shy away from colored stones,” says Annoushka Ducas, founder of Annoushka Jewellery. The Brit-jeweler, who is a favorite of Kate’s as well as Carole and Pippa Middleton, tells PEOPLE: “I can see her wearing an all-diamond ring with a princess cut diamond as the central stone (fitting for her future role!) on a gold or platinum band — clean, simple but incredibly elegant.”
One thing we can be sure of is that Markle’s wedding band will be made from a nugget of Welsh gold from the Clogau St David’s mine – as is tradition for royal brides ever since the Queen Mother chose it for her wedding back in 1923. The gold, which was used to craft Princess Kate’s ring, comes from a mine with an abundance of copper, giving it a unique pink tinge.
Whatever the exact design, Field believes it will be symbolic in how they plan to spend the rest of their lives together. “Harry intends his marriage to be quite different and his ring for Meghan is going to be the start of a family collection of jewelry as opposed to a hand-me-down.”