A jeweller has launched a range of convincing “dummy” engagement rings to deal with the stinging rejection of brides-to-be who say yes to getting wed, but no to their intended’s choice in jewellery.
Beaverbrooks’ Proposal Ring range features 15 different styles of the most popular engagement rings priced from £40 to £65 – the idea being to save nervous suitors splashing out top dollar on the real thing before checking whether their future spouse is happy with the style.
The range features a simple £50 solitaire that looks uncannily like it’s £26,500 counterpart and a diamond-detailed ring that comes in prices to suit budgets from £55 for the cubic zirconia “dummy” version to £11,500 for a ring from the retailer’s “Once” collection.
Read more: Unique and delicate rings under £200
The bride-to-be gets to try out her intended’s choice for a few days or weeks and either swap it for the real thing in her preferred style, or if she’s happy with her partner’s choice keeps the dummy version as a back-up while the cost is deducted from the price of the final ring.
Beaverbrooks describes the budget proposal range as “transitory but beautiful.” It says that after surveying 2,000 women, it found that 72% say they wouldn’t trust their partner to choose their engagement ring.
One cautious groom, Gavin Pepper, chose to go down the proposal ring route at Christmas with a “vague idea” of what his partner liked. Happily, the 37-year-old, from Kent, got the answer he wanted from his bride-to-be Stephanie Cunningham, 26. But later they both went back to the store to get the style she actually wanted.
“I knew whatever I picked she would probably end up seeing something she liked better,” he says.
While Beaverbrooks found that most women wouldn’t trust their partner to choose a ring, marriage proposal consultant Daisy Amodio has set the scene for more than 1,000 engagements and says that the vast majority of people who arrange to pop the question through her company do so with a “forever” engagement ring they have chosen themselves.
“About 95% of our clients have already bought a ring – very few do an ‘I owe you’ or use a dummy ring,” she tells stylist.co.uk. “Many couples want something completely personal to them – I’ve had someone propose with a beautiful wooden engagement ring, for example.
“Often couples talk about styles beforehand or the proposer has a really specific idea of their future spouse’s preferred style.”
Amodio, who founded The Proposers five years ago, says she has met some brides-to-be who would be horrified to be proposed to with a ring they disliked.
“I’ve had many women tell me they would really have to reconsider whether they’d want to marry a partner who could be so far off the mark when it comes to what they like. They know they’ll be wearing this prominent piece of jewellery for the rest of their lives and some women see it as a terrible omen if they are presented with a ring style they hate - dummy or not.”
However, Amodio says such an extreme reaction really is worst-case scenario, and Beaverbrooks’ proposal rings give popping the question an instant “wow” factor that the promise of “we’ll choose one together” just can’t.
“Whether it’s a £50 cubic zirconia solitaire ring from Beaverbrooks or a £10 wrap ring from Accessorize, a temporary engagement ring gives the wearer a cooling-off period to see how the style looks and feels on her hand without the worry of knowing she’s stuck with an expensive piece of jewellery she has no intention of keeping.”
Of course, there is no rule to say that engaged women have to wear a ring at all. And with “dummy” rings looking so similar to their far pricier diamond counterparts, many women who do decide to wear one may prefer to stick with the budget proposal version.
Why do we wear an engagement ring?
- It symbolises eternity – no beginning and no end
- Wedding rings began in ancient Egypt, but Archduke Maximilian of Austria is widely believed to have begun the engagement ring tradition in 1477 when he gave Mary of Burgundy a gothic diamond ‘M' ring
- Diamonds are popular as symbols of marriage because they’re hardwearing, durable, rare and unique
- It’s traditionally worn on the fourth finger of the left hand because ancient Romans wrongly believed the finger has a vein that runs directly to the heart
- Not everyone wears it on the left – in Austria, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Russia, Spain, India, Colombia, Venezuela, and Poland it’s usually worn on the right hand