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British men break the rules of engagement

Press release: 22/08/2011

  • The average engagement ring is believed to be worth £1,231
  • Four in ten (38%) men won’t tell their partner what they actually spent on an engagement ring
  • Diamonds have soared by an average of 20% over the past 12 months with some stones rising by as much as 48% [1]
  • One in 20 (4%) engagement rings are lost or stolen

British men are re-writing the rules of romance and are refusing to follow the time honoured tradition of spending between one and three month's salary on an engagement ring for their betrothed.

New research from home insurer LV= finds that the average man spends the equivalent of three weeks pay on a ring when they propose with nearly two thirds (59%) of grooms-to-be spending less than a month's wages.

In contrast to the male perspective, women believe that one month's salary is the bare minimum amount a man should spend on a ring when proposing [2] with one in twenty (4%) saying "the bigger the diamond, the better". Yet while men are economising on what they spend on a ring, the research finds that they are also stretching the truth to their fiancés. Less than four in ten men (38%) tell their partner what they’ve actually spent on an engagement ring, and over 3% of men admit that they lied to their partner and exaggerated the real price.

Of those women surveyed, less than half (45%) say they know exactly how much their ring is worth, with the average ring being valued by the wearer at £1,231. This estimate may actually be far lower than the truth as the price of precious metals and diamonds has risen enormously over the past year. Gold has risen by over 49% over the past twelve months [3] and by 546% in the past decade [4]. The cost of diamonds has risen by 20% on average over the past twelve months with some stones rising by as much as 48% [5]. This means that the real value of a ring bought in the past few years will have changed substantially from its original price and could be worth a great deal more.

According to the LV= research, almost one in 20 (4%) engagement rings are lost or stolen. Yet the research shows that few people choose to have their engagement ring professionally valued (68% have never had their ring valued); meaning they would not be insured for the full value of the ring if they needed to make an insurance claim. LV= is warning couples to take a practical approach to romance and protect their investment, by insuring all jewellery, having regular ring valuations and updating home contents insurance after becoming engaged.

The research also shows that getting engaged is increasingly becoming a democratic affair, with one in ten (9%) couples splitting the cost of the ring with their partner. In general though, men are far more likely to propose with 72% of men versus 6% of women popping the question. Among those men who are currently engaged and have paid for their partner’s engagement ring, one in eight (13%) say financial concerns constrained the amount of money they spent and they admit they had to cut back as a result.

John O'Roarke, managing director of LV= home insurance, said: "Whether splashing out on a diamond or buying on a budget, an engagement ring is always a valued possession, so it's really important that couples protect their investment. What many couples may not realise is that the price of diamonds and precious metals has increased dramatically recently and they may find themselves out of pocket if the ring is lost or stolen. Losing something as sentimental as an engagement ring is upsetting in itself but even worse if it is not insured - so today we're calling on couples to have their ring valued regularly to ensure they're fully protected."

For more information, log on to www.lv.com.


About LV=

LV= employs over 4500 people and serves over four million customers with a range of financial products. We are the UK's largest friendly society and a leading financial mutual.

When we started in 1843 our goal was to give financial security to more than just a privileged few and for many decades we were most commonly associated with providing a method of saving to people of modest means. Today we follow a similar purpose, helping people to protect and provide for the things they love, although on a much larger scale and through a wide range of financial services including insurance, investment and retirement products.

We offer our services direct to consumers, as well as through IFAs and brokers, and through strategic partnerships with organisations such as ASDA, Nationwide Building Society and a range of trades unions.

LVFS is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority, register number 110035. LVFS is a member of the ABI, the AFM and ILAG. Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF. www.LV.com.

[1] According to LV= loss adjusters data shows that 1 – 1.49 carat round cut diamonds of E colour, that are internally flawless have gone up 27.3% between May 2010 and May 2011. The equivalent pear shaped diamond has gone up by 47.7%. All values based on prices in US dollars.
[2] According to the ICM research, women believe an engagement ring should be worth on average 1.14 month’s salary.
[3] According to www.goldprice.org data based on gold prices in US dollars between 11 August 2010 and 11August 2011.
[4] According to www.goldprice.org data based on gold prices in US dollars between 11 August 2001 and 11 August 2011.
[5] According to LV= loss adjusters data shows that the price of diamonds have gone up by around 20% on average. 1 – 1.49 carat round cut diamonds of E colour, that are internally flawless have gone up 27.3% between May 2010 and May 2011. The equivalent pear shaped diamond has gone up by 47.7%. All values based on prices in US dollars.