Time declares giving diamond engagement rings is passé

The article discusses the decline in engagement ring sales and offers a critical perspective on the tradition of diamond engagement rings
Time declares giving diamond engagement rings is passé

The recent article published by Time Magazine discusses the decline in engagement ring sales and offers a critical perspective on the tradition of diamond engagement rings.

The author begins by highlighting the decrease in sales reported by jewellery retailers such as Signet and De Beers, attributing it to factors like reduced dating during the pandemic and a natural readjustment after strong sales in previous years. However, the author presents an alternative explanation: a shift in societal attitudes towards the concept of engagement rings.

The article challenges the notion of diamond engagement rings as romantic symbols and argues that they are outdated and unappealing. They criticize the tradition's associations with ownership, status, and the transfer of family wealth, characterizing it as antiquated and "icky." The author suggests that modern society no longer adheres to practices like pinning or proclaiming the banns and emphasizes the diminishing relevance of dowries. The argument is made that marriage today is based on mutual affection and a commitment to care for one another, rather than the ability of a man to provide for a woman.

The author shares a personal anecdote of receiving an emerald engagement ring instead of a diamond ring, expressing a preference for unconventional choices. They describe rings as limiting and impractical, highlighting concerns about protecting fingers and hindering daily activities. The author questions why engagement rings continue to thrive despite the expectation that sensible modern individuals would abandon them.

The article acknowledges that it is not against the concept of engagement itself, but rather the current manufacturing and marketing of engagement rings. The author argues that they have lost their romantic and special significance, becoming wasteful and counterproductive to starting a lifetime partnership on the right foot.

Another aspect of the argument focuses on the evolving nature of marriage. With the majority of couples now living together before marriage and both partners likely having jobs and contributing financially, the author questions the imbalance in the tradition of only one person buying and wearing an engagement ring. The author challenges the notion that saving up a couple of months' salary demonstrates seriousness and marriageability, suggesting it may simply indicate the availability of credit.

The author contends that engagement rings can be a disincentive to marry, creating additional pressures on the proposer and reinforcing class distinctions in marriage. The article highlights declining marriage rates among different socioeconomic groups and questions the high financial barrier to entry for marriage. The author critiques the historical reasons behind engagement rings, including indicating a woman's status and compensating for a broken engagement, considering them preposterous and detrimental to the autonomy of women and the reliability of men.

Moreover, the article explores the economic aspects of engagement rings, pointing out their high cost and the significant drop in value once they leave the store. The author questions the disproportionate expenditure on engagement rings compared to wedding rings, emphasizing that the association between diamonds and lasting love was created by marketers less than a century ago.

Overall, the article presents a critical perspective on the tradition of diamond engagement rings, arguing that they are outdated, impractical, and associated with societal norms that are no longer relevant. It suggests that a shift in societal attitudes and priorities may be contributing to the decline in engagement ring sales observed by jewellery retailers.

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