The Toi et Moi Ring: A Timeless Symbol of Love and Connection
Learn about the fascinating history, meaning, and contemporary interpretations of the iconic Toi et Moi engagement ring
When it comes to romantic jewellery, the Toi et Moi ring stands as a shining symbol of love and connection making it a thoughtful choice for an engagement ring. With its unique design featuring two gemstones nestled side by side, this ring is certainly eye-catching and has been gaining popularity since the early 19th century with the likes of Napoleon to modern-day celebrities such as Emily Ratajowski and Ariana Grande.
French for ‘You’ and ‘Me’, the Toi et Moi is synonymous with romance and glamour. Throughout this article, we’ll delve into its fascinating history, meaning and contemporary interpretations, and give you inspiration for designing your own bespoke piece as well!
A Tale of Two Gems‘Why have one when you can have two?’
The Toi et Moi’s distinguishing feature of two gemstones, embodies the essence of the coming together of two souls in love. With each stone representing both individuals in the relationship, becoming unified as one. The concept of this ring originates back to the late 18th century during the Romantic era, where exchanging sentimental jewellery started to become more common.
By including two gemstones, the significance of the Toi et Moi ring extends beyond it’s romantic connotations, with many couples choosing to pick gemstones that hold significance and meaning for themselves and their relationship. For example, a popular (but by no means the only) combination is a sparkling diamond alongside a gorgeous coloured gemstone. This way, the diamond represents everlasting love, strength and health, and the coloured gemstone represents uniqueness and individuality, with many people being inspired by different symbols associated with different gemstones. This fusion of both diamond and coloured gemstone in the Toi et Moi ring not only looks fantastic and striking but embodies the idea that two separate individuals can come together in perfect harmony, complementing each other and celebrating one another's differences.
A Romantic HistoryToi et Moi rings have graced the fingers of many notable figures throughout history. The ring itself gained notoriety after French Emperor Napoleon proposed to his much-beloved partner Josephine, Queen of Italy in 1796 with a yellow gold Toi et Moi engagement ring made from a pear cut Blue Sapphire and matching pear cut 1ct Diamond. Theirs was a marriage based on love and passion rather than political gain which was unusual during the time for individuals of high social status. This lead the Toi et Moi ring to become a testament to their love story, and solidified romantic connotations it’s still associated with today.
The famed engagement ring of Napoleon and Josephine remained in the family, being passed down through the generations, until March 2013, when it was sold in auction at the Osenat auction house in France. The sale was set to mark the 250th anniversary of Josephine’s birth, with the price estimated at $20,000 covering the cost of the materials which made up the ring. However, the historical significance of this Toi et Moi was vastly underestimated and the ring sold for a staggering $948,000!
Another renowned Toi et Moi which cemented the design's romantic significance was Jackie Kennedy’s engagement ring, given to her by 35th President John F. Kennedy in 1953. Created by Van Cleef & Arpels, the ring originally featured a 2.8ct Diamond and a similar size Emerald, connected by a row of Baguette cut Diamonds. 10 years later however, Jackie upgraded the ring, replacing the sleek Baguette cut Diamonds with a lavish Marquise cut, giving the appearance of two stones nestled between a laurel wreath. This Toi et Moi engagement ring epitomised Jackie’s legacy as a style icon and demonstrated her growing confidence through updating the ring to a more extravagant design as her tastes developed.
A Modern TouchA timeless design, the Toi et Moi remains a popular choice for a striking engagement ring today. And whilst the traditional Toi et Moi typically features two gemstones of equal size and prominence, contemporary interpretations are constantly expanding these possibilities. Toi et Moi designs today often experiment with different gemstone combinations, sizes and settings to create a unique and personalised touch. The possibilities are truly endless, with the advantage of two stones allowing for more creativity and scope for couples to express their individuality and create a one-of-a-kind ring!
Emma Ratajkowski showed her beautiful Toi et Moi engagement ring, consisting of two large Diamonds in a pear and cushion cut, set in a gold band. As Emma Ratajkowski’s ring shows, experimenting with different cuts is an exciting way to create dimension with your ring and play with line. Harsher square lines compliment the rounded pear cut brilliantly, and the gemstones don’t even have to be different from each other to create a dramatic ring.
Whilst it’s typical that the Toi et Moi is given as a romantic gesture, the ring's capacity for a fabulously colourful and bold design make it a wonderful addition to any cocktail ring collection, being worn on the right hand to feel a little less bridal.
Designing your Toi et MoiThe allure of a Toi et Moi ring lies not only in its captivating design but also in the emotional connection it may represent. Whether exchanged as an engagement ring, anniversary gift, ‘push present’ or even a self-gift; the Toi et Moi serves as a constant reminder of bond shared between individuals and should be celebrated.
Choosing the design of your Toi et Moi ring is an exciting process and here are some factors you may wish to consider when selecting your dream ring:
Meaning and SymbolismGemstones have long been associated with specific meanings and symbols and it’s worth considering the significance you want to convey through your own Toi et Moi. A popular and sentimental option are birthstones, which not only create a colourful appearance but are special to each individual too. You may wish to look into the associated meanings behind different gemstones and find what resonates with both you and your partner. For example, using birthstones or incorporating family heirlooms as Ariana Grande allegedly did, in a touching gesture, using her Grandad’s pearl pin in her engagement ring design.
Colour CombinationAlongside meaning, the colours of the gemstones you choose can create a beautiful contrast and complement each other harmoniously. Look for gemstones you think go well together, and for your skin tone too. You can opt for contrasting colours such as Blue Sapphires and Emeralds, or choose gemstones with similar hues such as Blue Sapphires and Aquamarines. Consider how the colours will look when set side by side in the ring.
Cut and ShapeThe cut and shape of the gemstones greatly influence their appearance and you can use this to your advantage. For example, round cuts are classic and versatile, but you can explore more options like princess, emerald and pear cuts to really maximise the gemstone you’ve chosen to make it gleam the most! Additionally, having two different cut gemstones, representing yourself and your partner is quite a sweet nod to how you are united together, yet individuals too. It is worth noting as well, that the size comparison between both your gemstones can have a dramatic effect on your ring. Traditionally, Toi et Moi gemstones are similarly proportionate in size, even despite different cuts, which create a sense of balance between both stones. However experimenting with one larger and one smaller gemstone is an excellent way to express your individuality and personal style.
Quality and CertificationWhen purchasing any gemstone jewellery, it’s vital to consider quality. Not only would you wish your heirloom to be passed down, but factors such as colour, clarity, cut, and carat weight affect the overall look and beauty of the gemstone and so it’s wise to look for reputable jewellers who will be able to guarantee you the highest quality. At Fenton, we responsibly hand-source all our gemstones from non-conflict countries, and our sparkling Solar Diamonds are grown by renewable solar energy. Furthermore, you will be presented with a gemstone certificate, assuring you of its province and quality, to give you confidence in your purchase.
Personal PreferenceUltimately, choosing the design for your Toi et Moi ring is an exciting process as it reflects your personal taste and style and can be made however you’d like! Consider you and your partner's favourite gemstones, and any sentimental value attached to certain gemstones which resonate with you both and evoke emotions that are meaningful to your relationship.
Feeling inspired? Get started designing your own Toi et Moi ring today and get in touch with our bespoke team who will guide you through the process of creating your dream ring!