Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has ruled out exempting jewellery from the new personal insolvency laws.

Fianna Fáil had proposed that engagement and wedding rings, which could be of low value but of significant ceremonial significance in people's lives, should not be included when a debtor's assets are assessed.

Speaking to the Oireachtas Select Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality, Mr Shatter said it was a misconceived amendment that he could not accept in any circumstances.

The minister said nobody wants an individual who owns a modest wedding or engagement ring valued at a couple of hundred euro to be put in a position where they may be deprived of that.

However, he said it would not be fair to creditors if people could write off items of significant value.

Mr Shatter said: "One individual's €100 ring that has ceremonial significance might be another individual's €200,000 or €300,000 diamond bazooka that they regard as having a great deal more ceremony than the €100 ring."

Fianna Fáil's Niall Collins put forward the amendment, but he withdrew it on the grounds that there was no specified value or ceiling attached to the item of jewellery.

However, he indicated that this would not be the end of the issue for him and that a revised amendment could be proposed at a later stage in the Bill's passage.

Mr Collins told the minister that he was concerned with ordinary people and not those who could afford jewellery worth six-figure sums.