Thousands snap up new £1 engagement ring

Tie the knot: Millennials are getting engaged later and in fewer numbers than past generations. © Getty

Poundland has sold over 20,000 engagement rings in the week since its range launched. As wedding costs spiral out of control, this budget option could be more romantic than meets the eye.

Poundland might not be the first place you’d think to find romantic jewellery. But now, nestled between the aisles of pick ’n’ mix sweets and tubes of Pringles, you might just find your dream engagement ring. Better still, it costs only £1!

When Poundland launched their range of £1 engagement rings last week, they sold 20,000 in seven days. Customers can choose from a (fake) diamond, ruby or topaz.

Unlike diamonds, Poundland plastic isn’t forever. The retailer says it expects the ring to be used as a “beautiful placeholder” until couples choose a more permanent ring together.

And as wedding costs soar, budget rings might look appealing. Last year, the average cost of a wedding in the UK was £30,355.

Given that one in three millennials will never own their own home, young couples are looking for ways to save money. Indeed, 52% make their own wedding decorations.

While engaged women have worn rings since Roman times, the expensive diamonds that are now ubiquitous are a recent phenomenon.

In 1939, just 10% of engagement rings in the US were diamond. In the wake of the Great Depression, as demand for expensive jewellery fell, the De Beers diamond company launched its famous “a diamond is forever” advertising campaign. By 1990, around 80% of engagement rings sported diamonds.

Now, the average UK couple spends £1,500 on an engagement ring.

Marry me?

Many think the wedding industry has got out of control, with couples now spending more than the average UK salary. Are pricey rings just a scam by diamond companies? Or an important sentimental object that will withstand a lifetime together?

Facing a housing crisis and unstable employment, will millennials turn away from engagement rings? Perhaps the Poundland ring is the most romantic of all because it recognises that real love is not based on wealth.

You Decide

  1. Is marriage still important in the 21st century?

Activities

  1. Do you want to get married? If so, what would it be like? If not, why not? Discuss these questions in small groups and have a class vote to see what everyone thinks.

Some People Say...

“Wedding fever is one of the scariest diseases I have ever seen.”

Jessica Valenti

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
Poundland has sold 20,000 £1 engagement rings in the first week since the range was launched. They are intended for use as a placeholder after a proposal until the couple choose a ring together.
What do we not know?
Whether engagement rings are here to stay. Young couples are increasingly breaking with tradition and making their weddings more personal.

Word Watch

£30,355
According to Bridebook.co.uk’s National Wedding Survey 2018.
Roman
Women had a gold ring to wear in public and an iron ring for doing chores.
Ubiquitous
Extremely common, found everywhere.
Great Depression
A long and severe depression during the 1930s that started in the US. In most countries, it started in 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s. Between 1929 and 1932, the world’s GDP fell by 15%.

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