Diamonds are losing their sparkle as the engagement ring of choice.
When a man proposes, he is now increasingly likely to do so with an emerald, sapphire or ruby.
Experts say coloured stones can look much more expensive than they actually are.
Tradition has it that a young man should spend two months’ salary on an engagement ring.
Kantar Retail analyst Anusha Couttigane said: “A generation of marital age people are now prioritising other things such as weddings, housing and the cost of having children, rather than splashing out on a really expensive ring.
“There is still a lot of demand for solitaire diamond rings, but there has been growth in non-traditional designs which use cheaper, coloured stones too.”
Joanna Hardy, a jewellery expert for the BBC's Antiques Roadshow, told the Sunday Telegraph: “The great thing about coloured stones is that you can buy something really fabulous looking and most people will have no idea how much it cost.
“This is a big selling point for people who perhaps don't have as much to spend on a ring and don't want others to know exactly what they've spent on it.”
Couples have also turned to vintage or second-hand rings, which tend to be around half the price of new pieces.
A John Lewis spokesperson said: “Second-hand engagement rings are increasing in popularity, particularly with people getting married for the second time.
“They are often looking for a simple design having chosen a large stone or statement ring the first time.” - Daily Mail