Pop superstar Britney Spears is making headlines again, but this time it has nothing to do with her much-publicized battle to end a 13-year conservatorship that has controlled both her personal life and finances.
No, Spears is in the news again after announcing her engagement to boyfriend Sam Asghari with a wildly exuberant post displaying a glitzy diamond ring.
The pop singer, 39, and the actor-fitness enthusiast, 27, announced their engagement on Instagram on Sunday hours before the music world hit the red carpet for the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards.
The focus of the online announcement was the four-carat round brilliant stone in a platinum cathedral setting that is engraved inside the silver band with "lioness," a nod to Asghari’s nickname for Spears.
"I can’t (expletive) believe it," Spears wrote on Instagram below videos showing off her newest bling. Spears added six engagement ring emojis and six exclamation points to her announcement.
"Look at that, do you like it?" Asghari asked of the ring in the short video, to which Spears replies, "Yesss!"
Asghari posted his own photo of the two kissing, with Spears dramatically holding up her ring finger. The ring was described as "one of a kind" by New York City-based designer Roman Malayev.
But Britney’s newest bling has a long way to go before its worthy of today’s sparkling list of Five of the Most Famous Engagement Rings in History:
5) The famous finger: Empress Joséphine of France
The ritzy ring: When Napoléon Bonaparte met Joséphine de Beauharnais (Rose Tascher de la Pagerie as she was known then) in 1795, you would not have guessed they were destined to be partners in one of history’s greatest love stories. The man who was to become emperor of France was engaged to another woman, and Joséphine (whose husband had died in the Reign of Terror) was having an affair with another man. Not to mention she was six years older than Napoléon, and a widow with two children. But the heart wants what the heart wants and the pair fell passionately in love. Their wedding day was March 9, 1796, but the honeymoon lasted only 36 hours. Napoléon left to lead the French army on a successful invasion of Italy, but during this absence he wrote frequently, sometimes twice a day. The gold ring Napoléon gave his love has an 18th-century setting called "toi et moi" with opposing tear-shaped jewels, a blue sapphire and a diamond. The carat weight of the two gems is little less than a carat each. It may seem unimpressive considering the names attached to them are an emperor and empress, but it illustrates Napoléon’s passion for his future queen. "At the time, Napoléon was a young and promising officer, but he was not rich. He must have broken his wallet to buy this quality ring," Osenat auction house expert Jean-Christophe Chataignier told ABCNews.com in 2013. The ring went on sale in 2013 at the Osenat auction house in Fontainebleau outside Paris where the bidding was expected to reach $20,000. When the hammer fell, the ring had fetched nearly $950,000. The couple’s tempestuous marriage ended in divorce in 1810 because Joséphine was unable to provide Napoléon with an heir. On his deathbed, however, his final words were her name.
4) The famous finger: Screen goddess Marilyn Monroe
The ritzy ring: Call it the symbol of an ill-starred marriage between two of history’s biggest legends. The famous platinum eternity band Joe DiMaggio gave to Marilyn Monroe on their wedding day signified hope for a harmonious future that, tragically, would never happen. The New York Yankees superstar bought the simple but elegant eternity ring, set with 35 baguette-cut diamonds (one of the diamonds has since been lost) ahead of the couple’s wedding on Jan. 14, 1954. The press called it "the Marriage of the Century." But the relationship was doomed because Monroe’s movie career was soaring just as "Joltin’ Joe" was ready to settle down. He was arguably the greatest baseball player of his time, leading the Yankees to nine World Series titles in his 13-year career. In September 1954, Marilyn filmed the now-iconic scene from The Seven Year Itch, standing on a subway grate with her skirt blowing up to reveal her legs. Director Billy Wilder instructed the scene be shot again and again. It reportedly infuriated DiMaggio, who had visited the set. Two weeks later, it was announced the couple had separated. In November that year, their divorce was issued. The ring that promised so much hope hit the auction block in 2011, with a guide price of $300,000 to $500,000. It reportedly fetched a whopping $772,500. But the only thing DiMaggio loved more than the game was Marilyn, the most iconic female actor in history. Reports say, after Monroe died of a drug overdose in 1962, the lovelorn slugger had roses delivered to her crypt three times a week for the next 20 years. DiMaggio died on March 8, 1999, at the age of 84. He died with Marilyn’s name on his lips. With his last breath, DiMaggio said: "I’ll finally get to see Marilyn."
3) The famous finger: Movie legend Elizabeth Taylor
The ritzy ring: When you’re engaged 10 times and married eight, you’re bound to pick up a few rings along the way. That was certainly the case with Hollywood superstar Elizabeth Taylor. One of the most impressive pieces in her collection was a "not quite 30 but 29-and-a-half" carat emerald-cut diamond ring she got when hubby No. 3, Mike Todd, proposed in 1956. Taylor called it her "ice skating rink." But the only stone people still talk about is the one she received from the true love of her life, actor Richard Burton, whom she married and divorced twice. It was first known as the Krupp Diamond, a "potentially internally flawless" gem first owned by German actress Vera Krupp. In 1958, the stone was literally stolen from her finger during a robbery at her ranch near Las Vegas. The diamond and its accent stones were recovered and returned and after Vera died, Burton nabbed the ring for a mere $305,000, the highest auction prize for a diamond ring at the time. Burton presented it to Taylor as a surprise gift on their yacht while it was moored on the River Thames near London, where the couple was celebrating a new business venture. Technically, it wasn’t an engagement ring as they’d been married for four years. When Taylor died in 2011, the iconic ring and other jewels went up for auction. "On the auction’s first night alone, nearly every piece sold above its highest estimate for a total of $116 million dollars. The Krupp Diamond ring, which Christie’s aptly renamed ‘the Elizabeth Taylor Diamond,’ sold to a Korean retail company for over $8.8 million," notes naturaldiamonds.com. "That evening, a world record was set for a private jewelry collection at auction and another famous natural diamond went into the history books."
2) The famous finger: Former U.S. first lady Jackie Kennedy
The ritzy ring: Five years after the shocking assassination of U.S. president John Fitzgerald Kennedy, his widow, Jackie, stunned the world by announcing she was engaged to longtime friend Aristotle Onassis, a Greek shipping magnate who was 23 years older than her. To celebrate their engagement, Onassis gave the woman who became known as "Jackie O" a 40-carat Marquise-cut Lesotho III diamond ring from Harry Winston — which she kept in a bank vault. After she passed away in 1996, the ring was sold at auction for $2.59 million. But no one wants to talk about that, because the ring that still echoes in history is the stunner she received from the dashing John F. Kennedy. By all accounts, Jacqueline Lee Bouvier met the future president at a dinner party in Washington, D.C., when she was working as a photographer/columnist for the Washington Herald. "I’ve never met anyone like her," is what a smitten Kennedy was quoted as saying at the time. The couple went on to date for two years before the Massachusetts congressman popped the question with a jewel unlike any other. "The future president knew his bride-to-be had a particular love for emeralds, and his choice in ring did not disappoint," according to ritani.com. "Vintage art deco in style and worth over one million dollars in 1953, the iconic engagement ring featured a 2.88-carat diamond alongside a 2.84-carat emerald. Both gems are surrounded by clusters of tapered baguette diamonds. As if this spectacle weren’t scintillating enough to behold, an extra 2.12 carats of round and marquise cut diamonds were added to the ring in 1963. This brought Jackie O’s engagement ring up to a total of eight carats. Today, it is still considered one of the most iconic pieces of jewelry of all time." The lives of America’s first royal family were shattered on Nov. 22, 1963, the day her husband was cut down by assassin’s bullets in Dallas. The ring’s value was last pegged at $1.39 million, but would clearly fetch far more at auction.
1) The famous finger(s): Diana Spencer and Kate Middleton
The ritzy ring: There are a lot of star-crossed lovers on today’s list, but none fit that description more than Diana Spencer — who became known as "the People’s Princess" — and onetime husband Prince Charles. She was a shy nursery school teacher when she caught the attention of her prince. When they began dating, she was 19 and he was over 30. Their wedding on July 29, 1981, was seen by a global audience of 750 million. The story of her ring is remarkable. "Her engagement ring consisted of 14 diamonds surrounding a 12 carat oval blue Ceylon Sapphire, set in 18 karat white gold. The princess supposedly chose the ring herself, as it may have rem inded her of her mother’s. She loved the ring very much and wore it up until her scandalous divorce from Charles in 1996," according to jewelry website gabrielny.com. As everyone knows, the fairy tale fell apart and the marriage dissolved. The world was stunned when Diana died after suffering massive internal injuries in a high-speed car crash in Paris on Aug. 31, 1997. But the tale of the ring now resonates with renewed hope. "The beautiful heirloom was passed down to Prince William, their first born, who proposed to the lovely Catherine Middleton in Kenya in 2010 after a seven-year courtship," gabrielny.com notes. "The prince, who was very close to his mother, stated that giving his mother’s engagement ring to Catherine was his way of making sure his mother didn’t miss out on his wedding day." According to news reports, after William popped the question and presented his mom’s dazzling sapphire to the future Duchess of Cambridge, the couple realized the ring would need to be resized. "Kate and William turned to jeweller G. Collins and Sons to resize the ring, and they did this by adding small platinum beads inside the band to reduce its diameter, instead of breaking and re-soldering the band itself," Hello magazine reported. Hopefully, it now symbolizes undying love.
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