Popping the question has never been more affordable.
British discount store Poundland has been selling engagement rings, each for just 1 pound, or about $1.30 — and the rings have been flying off the shelves.
The rings come in “gold” or “silver” and feature cubic zirconia stones that mimic diamonds, rubies and blue topaz.
The rings are meant to be placeholders, so that couples can pick out more traditional jewelry together, or so that the person proposing has more time to save up for a bigger piece of bling.
Poundland, the British equivalent to an American dollar store, introduced the rings as a Valentine’s Day promotion, and since then more than 20,000 have been sold. There are now fewer than 6,000 rings left with no plans to restock, a Poundland spokesperson told TODAY Style.
“It’s clearly a gem of an idea and the nation agrees,” Poundland’s jewelry buyer, Frances O’Sullivan, said in a release.
For one bride-to-be, Lizzie Bennetti, 48, her engagement ring was a dream come true. Her story went viral after she posted a video of her boyfriend proposing to her with a Poundland engagement ring earlier this month.
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Her now-fiancé, Barrie Fricker, was inspired to propose with the discount accessory after hearing about the affordable ring trend on a British talk show. He and Bennetti have been together for 13 years, and he said he was just waiting for the perfect creative way to propose.
“Everybody was talking about this one-pound ring, and it gave me an idea,” Fricker, 47, told TODAY Style. “I thought, ‘We’d always spoken about getting engaged. ... ’ I needed an idea of what to do.”
Fricker had actually already bought Bennetti a real diamond engagement ring, but he wanted to add “a twist” when he popped the question. So with the help of some friends, he bought her a Poundland ring and orchestrated a romantic surprise proposal atop a London skyscraper.
And, happily, Bennetti was swept off her feet.
“The stone was the same color as a blue topaz, which is my birthstone,” she told TODAY. “It was the last one left in the Poundland store ... and the fact that it fitted as well, it just sort felt like it was meant to be. It was like fate.”
About an hour after he gave her the bargain ring, Fricker followed it up with the actual diamond band — but Bennetti said the Poundland ring will always hold a special place in her heart.
“I’ll always keep it, maybe (even) wear it on the odd occasion,” she told TODAY. “You can’t wear it constantly, because it will tarnish. But it’s a sentimental ring. It’s a token of love, really.”
As a former jeweler, Bennetti can definitely tell the difference between a Poundland ring and the real deal. Still, she applauded the store for making bargain engagement bands, saying it might remove the pressure many people feel to pick out the “perfect” ring before proposing.
“A lot of men think, ‘Oh, I don’t know if I’m buying the right thing,’ or they panic when they’re buying it,” she said. “But having a sort of temporary thing, just so that you can go out and buy the one with your partner, is ... a really good idea, I think.”
And while Fricker did have a real diamond up his sleeve, he agreed that the Poundland rings could be a great option for couples who are still saving up for something more permanent.
“It’s a good idea for someone who doesn’t want to spend all that sort of money,” he said. “You can save up and buy a decent ring later on, or ... you can choose it together.”
Some people online have been skeptical of Poundland’s discount rings, with some women saying they would never accept one from their husbands-to-be.
If a proposal does crash and burn, Poundland has shoppers covered: The stores is offering a one-year return policy on the $1.30 rings, according to a release.
The discount retailer also had some funny tips for proposing with a piece of plastic bling — tips that might make a “yes” more likely.
“Make it real: this is the real thing,” the company advised. “Get down on one knee, the whole nine yards. It’s a placeholder ring, not a placeholder proposal!”
Also, “don’t apologize,” the company added. “Yeah, it’s a placeholder ring, but own it — they’re getting the best deal, two rings AND get to choose their own rock later. WIN WIN!”
It was definitely a win-win for Bennetti, who was thrilled to accept her bargain ring. At the end of the day, her proposal was about love, not a price tag.
“The proposal was any woman’s dream, to be honest with you,” she said.