The present ruby and diamond ring was a gift to Queen Marie-Jos of Italy from an admirer. Born Princess Marie-Jos of Belgium on August 4, 1906, she first met her future spouse, Umberto, Prince of Piedmont, in 1917, when he was thirteen years old. They were married thirteen years later on January 8, 1930, at the Quirinal Palace in Rome. The couple became King Umberto II and Queen Marie-Jos when his father, Vittorio Emanuele III, abdicated in his favour on May 9, 1946.
In the wake of the Second World War, Marie-Jos had high hopes of helping the population and restoring its well-being. She visited schools and hospitals, taking note of improvements that could be made. The Royal Family provided money for a series of shelters which provided beds for the sick and free medecine. When money became scarce, Marie-Jos, in a truly altruistic spirit, took the initiative to sell paintings and jewellery in order for the operations to continue.
After the referendum in Rome on June 2, 1946, in which the Italians opted for a Republic rather than a Monarchy, the Royal Family had no alternative but to go into exile. The King and Queen left for Portugal. In her later years, Marie-Jos became a historian of renown.