'Tis the season - to get down on one knee

IT STARTS in November, runs through to Valentine's Day - and Tasmanian jewellers can attest to its value.

Welcome to engagement season: a term dedicated to the rush of marriage proposals during the summer holiday period.

A survey by UK event planning website Chillisauce this month showed 60per cent of 7000 respondents nominated the Christmas- new year period as the best time to propose, followed closely by Valentine's Day in February.

The stats seem to correlate with local jewellery trends, with stores across the North and North-West reporting varying spikes in engagement ring purchases in the lead-up to the holiday period.

Robert Turner, of Jim Hughes and Sons in Launceston, said summer was generally a busy time all round due to Christmas shopping, though he said engagement ring sales definitely rose from October onwards.

"We're also finding more couples are buying rings together, instead of the man coming in and picking out one on his own," Mr Turner said.

"More and more we are finding that he's already proposed without a ring, and to make sure they get the right one, they come in as a pair and choose."

Mr Turner said diamond rings started at $900, with the average purchase in his store being about $3000.

Just across the street, Neil Watson, of Watsons Jewellers, reported a slight rise in engagement ring sales during the Christmas lead-in, while Jennifer Macartney, of Joyce Jewellers in Burnie, also revealed a jump.

"Diamond rings are probably our biggest annual seller, and I guess there is a bit of a rise around Christmas-Valentine's Day," she said.

"But it's not really as noticeable as you'd think."

Burnie's Janine Wise, of My Jewellers, reported steady sales all round, but she said if anything there had been a drop in engagement ring sales over the past couple of years.

"I suppose it's because fewer people are getting engaged - they tend to live with each other for a while before taking the next step," she said.

Helen Mitchell, of Matthews Jewellers in Devonport, said 2013 had been an incredibly successful year for jewellery - especially Pandora brand items and assorted watches.

Mrs Mitchell confirmed that engagement ring sales had mirrored the supposed proposal season, and she expected the high numbers to continue through to January.

"We've been flat out lately, and that includes a bit of a rise in engagement rings," she said.

"It's usually the season for it, isn't it?"

Email adruce@examiner.com .au

Twitter @AlexDruce1987

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