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New jewellery trends from the same-sex marriage industry

6th November 2017 Print

Civil partnerships in the UK have declined by 85% since 2013 following the legalisation of same-sex marriage. It was legalised in March 2014 and in the first month of legalisation in the UK, 1,049 same-sex couples wed.

To take a closer look into how this is affecting the jewellery market and general wedding traditions, we have teamed up with Angelic Diamonds — a retailer of tension set engagement rings

Legalisation in the UK

In the nine months after the first same-sex marriage in the UK, 15,098 couples were legally married. There was quite an equal spread between men and women — 55% of these were between women and 45% between men. In the first month of legalisation, 1,409 same-sex couples celebrated their love for each other with a wedding.

In America, same-sex couples can now choose to wed, too. Researchers have already seen an effect of this — it was found that couples spend more on their weddings than they would on a civil partnership. Men were found to spend $15,580 more on average and women $9,116. Many wedding retailers are accommodating to the rise in same-sex marriages as well, by offering bespoke supplies such as his and his (and hers and hers) wedding toppers and signage. It is estimated that the same-sex wedding industry is worth $51 billion (£38.8 billion).

Same-sex couples still can’t wed in many countries, however. Legalisation only occurred in Germany very recently in October 2017. Amongst others, Northern Ireland, Australia and Italy still haven’t legalised same-sex marriage.

Same-sex wedding traditions

Heterosexual weddings have their own traditions that they’ve upheld for hundreds of years. Traditionally, the man asks for approval from the woman’s parents, he purchases an engagement ring and proposes. At the wedding, the male has his groomsmen and women have their bridesmaids.

New research revealed that 81% of gay men skipped the engagement ring buying process before their proposal. Instead, they purchased substitute gifts, such as expensive watches, and then purchased rings for the wedding ceremony.

Instead of stag and hen dos, it was revealed that same-sex couples chose to enjoy a couple’s holiday or a trip away with all of their mutual friends. When it came to wedding parties, research showed that they had mixed sex bridesmaids and groomsmen, too. 

In a same-sex marriage, during the ceremony, the traditional vows cannot be written as they specify becoming ‘husband and wife’. Instead, the partners often write their own personal vows and the registrar marries the couple with the phrase ‘partners for life’.

When the actual ceremony was queried, it was revealed that some same-sex couples walked down the aisle together and others had their parents walk down with them.

Is the jewellery industry adapting accordingly?

Many wedding retailers have adapted their supplies to meet the needs of same-sex couples — jewellery shops must do the same. One thing that was picked up by research was that many gay couples chose to do their ring shopping online, as they found shopping in store for rings to be an awkward encounter. However, many businesses have embraced the changes by presenting gay couples in their advertising campaigns and welcoming couples to their store.

Instead of spending money on engagement and wedding rings, it seems as though same-sex couples prefer to purchase solely an engagement ring (66% of females and 19% of males purchased engagement rings). 

Some same-sex couples have different requirements when it comes to the design of their rings, too. For example, some choose a metal that has multi-coloured features to it — representative of the flag that the LGBTQ community associates itself with. One jeweller reported that often same-sex couples don’t request matching jewellery but instead want rings that have matching components, such as the same coloured metal or a similar stone.