Few people know that the idea “diamonds are forever” and the “rule” that a man should spend at least two months' pay on his fiancee's engagement ring were both brilliant strokes of marketing genius, but they are just that.

How unromantic!

However, it seems that millennials are throwing a spanner in the works when it comes to the future of the diamond industry. According to The Telegraph, “their more cost-conscious and individualistic shopping habits, along with their growing demands for more ethical sourcing of products, have led to diamonds losing their sparkle.”

The article points to research by insurance house, Allianz, which showed men no longer pay two or three months’ pay on engagement rings. The reasons are that among other things middle-class couples are “preferring to save their money for future school fees, spiralling house prices and adventurous holidays.”

Kantar Retail senior analyst Anusha Couttigane agrees with the research findings observing that, “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.” Whether this is proof that millennials are less materialistic, more practical or less romantic remains to be seen.

People are putting off marriage for longer than ever before, simply remaining unmarried, opting for long-term live-in partners or bouncing from one relationship to another with no strings attached.

While the reasons behind their choices may vary, the diamonds and the marriages they have seen fail the “forever” test must at least have some bearing on how young people view marriage and everything associated with it, including the ring.

With all eyes fixed on the here and now, young people are making less time for forever than ever before. The diamond industry may simple be feeling the symptoms of western societies indifference to the institution of marriage, which once cradled the bed rock of society, the family.

Helena Adeloju lives in Australia. She is a Melbourne-based journalist who has also worked in newspaper and television newsrooms in Sydney and Hobart. She has had the opportunity to travel widely across...