Send our apologies to Shirley Bassey and Kanye West, because it seems like diamonds aren’t forever: according to new research into the spending habits of millennials, young couples are ditching diamond engagement rings in favour of cheaper, more modern coloured stones like emeralds, rubies and sapphires.
According to Anusha Couttigane, a senior analyst at Kantar Retail, young couples now prefer to save their money for other major relationship milestones instead of blowing thousands on a rock.
'A generation of marital-age people are now prioritising other things such as weddings, housing and the cost of having children rather than splashing out on a really expensive ring,’ Couttigane explained to The Telegraph. ‘There is still a lot of demand for solitaire diamond rings, but there has been growth in non-traditional designs which use a range of cheaper, coloured stones too.’
Millenials are making like Kate Middleton (who is regularly spotted wearing her sapphire engagement ring from Prince William)
Recent research by Allianz has revealed that on average, men will spend £573 on an engagement, £3,082 less than the traditional ‘two months’ salary’ rule (as suggested in an iconic advertising campaign from De Beers jewellers) would dictate. One in five women, however, can expect to receive a more expensive ring, costing between £750 and £3,000.
The ethics of diamond-buying are also important considerations for many couples: millennials are aware of the human cost of the diamond trade (thank, Leo DiCaprio in Blood Diamond) and hence more likely to ask questions about provenance.
Coloured stones are now seen to provide a more modern, striking and individual alternative to a traditional diamond – and the fact that they tend to be cheaper than the once-ubiquitous sparkle is definitely another advantage.
‘The great thing about coloured stones is that you can buy something really fabulous looking and most people will have no idea how much it cost,’ jewellery expert Joanna Hardy told The Telegraph. ‘This is a big selling point for people who perhaps don’t have as much to spend on a ring and don’t want others to know exactly what they’ve spent on it.’