Are diamonds no longer a girl’s best friend?
Couples these days are spending less than ever before on engagement rings. 19% less, to be exact. Insurance providers Protect Your Bubble conducted some research into the spending habits of UK lovebirds. They found that while in 2007 the average spend on an engagement ring was £1333, over the past decade this has dropped to a measly £1080. Considering the cost of pretty much everything has increased in that timeframe, it’s a significant change.
The one exception is younger couples, aged between 16 and 24. These bright eyed romantics are equally spending well above the average, at £1473 on engagement rings and, for some reason, an even greater £2827 on wedding bands. Naturally, Londoners are the biggest spenders of the bunch – they spend an average of £2778 on their bling.
So why the reduction in big spenders?
It’s a well-worn fact that this generation, so-called ‘millennials’, are the first in history to be less well off than their parents. The global economic crash of the late 2000s happened right when couples, who are of marrying age now, graduated high school or university. That means they finished their education with significantly worse job prospects as well as debt, which they’ve struggled to catch up on in subsequent years thanks to volatile markets.
With increased access to information thanks to the internet, today’s couples are also a) much more consumer-savvy than previous generations and b) much more aware of the ethical issues surrounding the diamond industry. With a), that means they shop around and research a LOT before settling on one engagement ring, in order to get the best deal. This includes buying online, where little or no overhead costs result in a lower engagement ring price tag.
Where b) is concerned, it’s becoming more and more apparent that diamonds are losing their allure. The issue of blood diamonds, while improving, is still far from solved, and this is something that plays on the minds of an ethically observant generation. Environmental concerns are also significant with the mining industry, so planet and humanity-loving couples are steering clear of diamonds all together. Instead, they’re hunting down coloured gemstones like sapphires or rubies, lab grown diamonds or antique engagement rings.
So what does all this mean for romance and engagements in future? Could we see an end to the tradition of diamond engagement rings completely? It’s possible, but unlikely. Diamond production is set to peak pretty soon, but supply won’t run out for quite some time. And romance is still well and truly alive (or at least we hope so), as are little girls dreaming of big rocks. It’s unlikely that ‘average’ couples will suddenly do an about-turn as far as spending habits are concerned, but we’re confident that engagement rings in general aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.