Many jewellers reported a spike in engagement ring sales during lockdown and particularly in the weeks following the easing of lockdown restrictions.
As jewellery shops were allowed to reopen from 15 June, couples flocked to pick out a new diamond ring in their droves, with Helen Molloy of Forum Jewellers saying it had noticed “a larger number of eternity and engagement ring sales than normal” from the first day of reopening.
Meanwhile, Diamonds Factory head of e-commerce, Ben Stinson, told Professional Jeweller yesterday: “It did feel like there was a spike in big-ticket items like engagement rings as opposed to wedding rings.”
Speaking on the lack of weddings and the detrimental effect that has had on jewellers, he added: “Yes, I definitely think there has been an effect. I know people personally that have had to postpone weddings until next year; people that have got married in private.”
Wedding receptions have been allowed in England since 4 July with up to 30 people, however this included strict social distancing rules and the stipulation that only two households could attend. Consequently, not many have taken place.
From tomorrow (Saturday 15 August), though, more than two households are able to attend a wedding, as long as guests still abide by social distancing measures, with a elements such as a sit-down meal now acceptable. Rules are different, however, in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
So after the mass of engagements, will couples be looking to tie the knot at the earliest opportunity, or will the restrictions still placed upon weddings mean the industry does not pick back up until next year?
Both are possible, said Mr Stinson. He noted that those buying wedding bands often leave the purchase until the last minute, meaning jewellers could see an uptick in sales at any moment. “We do tend to notice that people buy their wedding rings within a month [before] getting married,” he laughed.
However, Diamonds Factory is not relying on the promise of a boost in wedding jewellery sales, and is bolstering its other revenue streams. “Fortunately perhaps,” Stinson added, “wedding band sales are not as popular with us as, say, engagement rings and diamond-specific products, so for now we’ll manage either way.”
Read more below about the boom in engagement ring sales post-lockdown: