Probably one of the most romantic of rings, Toi et Moi (You & Me) rings traditionally showcase two stones nestling side by side, symbolising the union of two souls. They were particularly popular as an engagement ring during the 19th & 20th centuries, although their rise to prominence was largely due to a single love affair. Famously scandalous, which naturally elevated the ring to cult status.
When Napoleon Bonaparte proposed to Joséphine de Beauharnais, she was a widow six years older than him with two children from a previous marriage. He presented a ring featuring two pear cut stones- a diamond and a sapphire, in a Georgina cut down setting on a simple band of gold. The pear cuts are touching, but are oriented in opposite directions.
Colour in gems can be particularly significant, so the pairing of a diamond and a notable red stone in Toi et Moi rings is an especially potent and popular combination, as the diamond represents strength and purity, whilst the deep red of a ruby or spinel signifies love, passion and devotion. Jackie Kennedy’s engagement ring was an unusual Toi et Moi, featuring a large diamond and emerald accompanied by baguette diamonds.
The classic Toi et Moi features two stones of similar proportions. However, jewellery styles or concepts inevitably undergo tweaks to remain relevant and appealing, and Toi et Moi rings are no exception. More recently, they have been reinvented in innovative and original ways. Contrasts are deliberately created between the size, colour and shape of gems, and in some cases, motifs (like flowers or insects) have been introduced as a second element. Theo Fennell’s Bee Duet is a wonderful example of this fresh incarnation.
Toi et Moi rings have historically featured large, striking, good quality stones, which come with a comparable price tag. A contemporary and accessible interpretation of the ring incorporates the original pear shaped motif set with pavé set diamonds. This design embraces the ethos of the original ring, whilst presenting an affordable and fresh way to wear this most amorous of rings.