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Marilyn Monroe famously sang that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but she didn’t meet the millennial girl, who is all about ditching traditional norms for practical, alternatives ones.

Last Christmas one of my besties got engaged in gorgeous Cape Town, rather than the usual diamond engagement ring we have become accustomed to seeing, her fiancé opted for an engagement ring that held special meaning to both of them, an emerald stone set with a gold band.

And they aren’t the only ones exploring this new trend in engagement ring buying, according to recent research conducted by insurance house, Allianz, consumer habits are changing when it comes to buying an engagement ring, with an increasing number of millennial couples ditching diamond solitaires in favor of designing their own rings, complete with colored stones or engravings unique to the bride’s preferences.

There are several reasons why young couples are choosing this option.

READ: 21 Fascinating Marriage Proposal & Engagement Traditions From Around The World

1. They’d Rather Spend The Money On Other Things

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Like buying a house…

Even if they can afford a diamond engagement ring, young couples seem to be opting instead to spend their hard earned cash on major milestones like buying a house or saving for their future children rather than blowing it all on bling!

Anusha Couttigane, a senior analyst at Kantar Retail explained this to The Telegraph,

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.

2. They Are Cheaper! 

Coloured stones on average are cheaper than the average single carat diamond. So they are more pocket friendly!

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Beyonce’s $5 Million Diamond Engagement Ring from Jay Z

But as the Allianz research shows, nowadays men are spending an average of around $916, with just one in five women receiving a ring between $1,200 and $4,780, a vast difference from about 3 decades ago when De Beers first launched the ‘two months’ pay’ marketing campaign, which made it commonplace for men to spend at least two months’ salary on their fiancee’s engagement ring.

READ: Mind Blowing Marriage Proposal Ideas For The Guy With No Money!

This has been largely due to the rise in popularity of coloured stones and non traditional diamond options as Anusha Couttigne explains,

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.

3. Ethics…I Mean Did You Not Watch Blood Diamonds?!

Movies like Blood Diamonds (starring Leonardo DiCaprio & Djimon Honsou) have brought to the forefront the human cost of the lucrative diamond industry. With many including young children losing their lives over the production of these rare diamonds, many couples just don’t want to be associated in any way with the unethical sourcing of these diamonds.

As such a few in the industry like Chopard have recently altered their policies, the luxury watch & jewellery company was the first to make ethical jewellery from Fairmined gold.

4. Uniqueness

Now more than ever before people want to show off their individuality! The internet has made it so easy to explore alternatives, we are now living in a time where we see brides opting for coloured wedding gowns over traditional “white virginal” dress, so why not take such liberties with a ring that she would wear everyday for the rest of her life?

Naomi the national director of a non profit in Lagos, was thrilled when her partner proposed with an emerald engagement ring last Christmas. She explains her fiance’s thought process in choosing her ring,

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Naomi’s emerald ring. Image Credit: L. Adesanya for ISaidYesHub.com

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Naomi’s emerald ring. Image Credit: L. Adesanya for ISaidYesHub.com

He didn’t want a regular diamond ring, he particularly wanted one that made a statement. He chose an emerald set in a gold band, because he had observed that gold and green complimented my caramel skin tone better than other colours. Besides we are both born in May and the emerald is our birthstone, so my ring holds a lot of meaning to both of us.

 5. It’s A Celeb Fave!

 

I mean duh! Celebs set trends and quite a number like Kate Middleton, Halle Berry, Jessica Simpson to name a few have led the charge for the non traditional diamond engagement ring trend!

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You don’t need to look further than the Duchess of Cambridge, who was proposed to by Prince William in June 2010, with a blue sapphire engagement ring that previously belonging to his mom Diana, Princess of Wales. Image Credit: Getty/Chris Jackson

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In 2012 actress Halle Berry received a hand-forged four-carat emerald ring from French actor Olivier Martinez. The ring contains codes and symbols known only to the couple. Image Source: Getty/Vera Anderson/David Livingston

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Eric Johnson proposed to singer Jessica Simpson was proposed to with a Tiffany & Co. ruby-colored ring, the ruby is a nod to her July birthstone. Image Credit: Getty / Mireya Acierto

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Actress Elizabeth Hurley was proposed to by Aussie cricket player Shane Warne with a blue sapphire set in platinum. Image Credit: Getty/D Dipasupil/Andrew Redington

So tell us are you still a classic diamond ring girl or would you rather go with something less traditional like a coloured gemstone?