Knowledge Centre > Jewellery History > History

Discover the ‘Toi et Moi’ from across the ages!


We want our jewellery to tell a unique story. The pieces we wear often represent significant memories and special moments in our lives. The crossover design, also known as a ‘toi et moi’, the French for ‘you and I’, is a particularly romantic style.

The design is set with two offset gemstones and can consist of perfectly matching diamonds or striking colour and shape combinations juxtaposed next to one another. The symbolism of two gems coming together in harmony to create one beautiful ring is one of the most romantic expressions of love through jewellery design!

The notion of the engagement ring dates back to the 15th century when the Archduke Maximillian of Austria presented a diamond solitaire ring to his bride-to-be, Mary of Burgundy. From here on, the concept of the gem set engagement ring spread among European aristocrats and nobility, in a variety of different styles.

Perhaps the most historic crossover ring, and arguably the first ever of its kind, was one given to Josephine by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1796. Napoleon met Josephine when he was a promising young officer, while she was a wealthy glamorous widow six years his elder, with two children. Their relationship caused much buzz around Paris at the time, and they were engaged for a mere two weeks before their union. Josephine's unique ring was set with a drop shaped sapphire and diamond in gold and silver cut-down settings. In 2013, Empress Josephine's ring made the headlines, when it was auctioned in France, selling for close to $1 million, thanks to its outstanding provenance.

After Napoleon, John F Kennedy brought the cross over design back to the forefront, presenting Jackie Lee Bouvier with an Emerald and Diamond Van Cleef & Arpels engagement ring. A few years later, in 1967, Queen Margret of Denmark was also presented with a crossover ring, set with two impressive cushion shape diamonds, also created by Van Cleef & Arpels.  

A timeless design, these iconic rings have gone on to inspire jewellers across the globe. The two stones touching can be interpreted in multiple ways representing ‘union’ and the coming together of two unique souls.

A sapphire and diamond, an emerald and diamond, a pearl and a diamond – regardless of the gemstones, it is the precious combination that makes a ring personal and right for you. At Berganza, we have an exquisite selection of crossover rings. The entire collection is available to view and purchase through the website, or our jewellery specialists would be delighted to welcome you to the showroom and assist you in your search for your perfect ring!

Tiffany & Co emerald diamond crossover ring hatton garden
Tiffany & Co. Colombian emerald and diamond crossover ring, American, circa 1930.
Ref: 27837
Art Deco natural pearl diamond ring berganza hatton garden
Art Deco natural pearl and diamond ring, circa 1935.
Ref: 22413
Antique sapphire and diamond crossover ring, English, circa 1905.  Hatton Garden
Antique sapphire and diamond crossover ring, English, circa 1905.
Ref: 22552
J. E. Caldwell emerald and diamond ring berganza hatton garden
J. E. Caldwell emerald and diamond ring, American, circa 1940.
Ref: 24224
Burmese ruby and diamond cross over ring hatton garden
Burmese ruby and diamond crossover ring, circa 1910.
Ref: 27805
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Updated 28/05/2024 at 2:33PM

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