While we can't measure whether love grows or fades over time, we can see how people value their wedding and engagement rings. After all, these are often the lasting representation of a couple's commitment.

So, we searched through over 286,000 insurance quotes where engagement and wedding rings were specified to uncover how people rate their rings over time. Does the bride care more than the groom? Do rings increase in value as people get older? Who keeps the rings in the case of a divorce?

The results might surprise you.

The De Beers Index

It's almost impossible to talk about the value of engagement rings without mentioning De Beers. Back in the 1930s, the famous South African diamond company put out a slogan recommending that prospective grooms spend at least one month salary on the engagement ring. The effectiveness of the marketing campaign was undeniable, cementing the diamond as the stone of choice, probably leaving many men with empty pockets and certainly leaving an impression that lasts to this day.

When we compared the average value of ring to the average monthly salary in the UK, we found that the De Beers myth rings true. The average Briton insures their ring for 1.6x their monthly earnings. Breaking this down further, we found that location has a lot to do with how the UK values its rings. Torquay insures their engagment rings for almost 2x their monthly salary, while Sunderland insures their rings for just over half their monthly earnings.

So, why does Torquay come out on top? At first glance it seems the English Riviera is just full of well-off, albeit cautious, romantics. When we dug a little deeper, however, we found that two social factors affect the value of rings in a town most: the proportion of population in a higher social grade and the proportion of pensioners.

So, Torquay's blend of affluent middle-aged families and retirees makes all the difference to the insured value of their jewellery.

Average value of engagement and wedding rings vs average UK monthly salary

Engagement Rings
Wedding Rings

1x average UK salary

2x average UK salary

Towns with the highest value of rings

1x average UK salary

2x average UK salary

Towns with the lowest value of rings

Today's couples spend more

Comparably our research shows that the younger you are, the more you insure your rings for. The average 32-year-old insures their ring for 1.5x their monthly earnings, while the average 20-year-old values theirs for 2.3x their monthly pay. At the other end of the scale, the average 55-year-old insures their rings for only 1.1 x their monthly income.

While a pessimist might assume this is representative of how love fades, with youthful optimism slowly giving way to more pragmatic middle age, we could never be that cynical. In fact, the value of rings has more to do with the cost at the time of purchase rather than how people feel about them later in life.

Comparing the value of rings from our quote data against census data for the average age at marriage, it clearly shows the value of rings is increasing due to inflation and that the average age at marriage is also increasing. Older age groups married younger but couldn’t afford expensive rings, while today's younger generations are marrying later in life and can afford to spend more on engagement and wedding rings.

Year of marriage vs Average value of ring
The gender gap

One of most surprising finds our study uncovered is that more men insure rings than women. On average 55% of Homeprotect customers are male and 45% are female, but when it comes to the wedding and engagement rings over 60% of quote requests come from men. Men tend to insure rings for a higher value than women too.

When we compared the value of ring per person with gender, the average value of male customers' rings is over £350 more than the average female customers' valuation. When we looked at the rings insured by only married couples the difference became even more stark, with the average married woman valuing her wedding and engagement rings for £540 less than a married man. When we narrowed it down to just engagement rings, married women still valued them around £100 less than married men.

There must be a reason why more men insure the rings and why married women tend to value their rings for less than almost every other group we analysed. We can only speculate but, as one of our colleagues pointed out, "maybe more men arrange home insurance to keep the true value of the rings secret from their spouses?"

Total Homeprotect Customers vs Customers Who Insure their Rings
and Average Value of Insured Rings by Gender
Don't get mad, get everything

Sadly, not all marriages last forever. So, if it does come to a divorce, who keeps the rings? We looked at the number of rings by relationship status, and things got interesting!

Husbands and boyfriends declare more rings on their policies than women at every stage of a relationship, except when divorced. When you look at how relationships progress, from single to married, the number of men declaring rings on their home insurance increases while the number of women steadily falls.

However, our data for divorcees throws this trend on its head, with 84% of divorced women declaring their rings compared to just 15% of divorced men. This suggests that men are less likely to keep their rings than women. As Ivana Trump said in the 90s classic movie The First Wives Club, "don't get mad, get everything!"

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