According to tradition, a man who wishes to marry the woman he loves must get down on one knee and propose to her with an engagement ring. The ring is the symbol of his love. Over the years, the significance of the engagement ring has changed but what hasn’t changed is the need for them. But how come it’s only women who have to wear rings? Unlike wedding rings, men are not expected to wear engagement rings as women are.
Things have changed in modern times, especially with the growing acceptance of same-sex marriages, the search for gender equality, and a modern mindset for couples. Let's look at the history of engagement rings to understand why men don't wear engagement rings and how personal choice fits into this.
History of Engagement Rings
An engagement ring is a type of jewelry that signifies the wearer’s engagement (a woman) to her lover. The ring represents a woman’s formal acceptance of a man’s offer of marriage.
While most people think that the giving of engagement rings is a modern tradition, it has its roots in the distant past. The Egyptians were known in history as the first ones to use engagement rings. The circular band represented eternal love and commitment among two people. During this time, the woman did not only receive an engagement ring, but the man would also pay the woman’s family with a dowry. The engagement ring was a symbol that the woman was “taken”. Eventually, the Catholic Church adopted the same tradition.
The tradition of wearing an engagement ring varies from one country to another. In some countries like Germany, France, Norway, and England, the woman must wear her engagement ring on the right hand. Meanwhile, both men and women wear engagement rings in Chile. The ring will be moved from the right hand to the left hand once the engaged couples are officially married.
Millennial couples, in particular, are the ones who opt to follow this trend. The shift in mindset towards equality and commitment is the reason why both men and women in a relationship choose to wear an engagement ring. Modern couples also agree that traditional gender roles have been blurred and this is represented in their personal choices, including the symbols of their committed relationship.
According to this source, there is a 56% increase in the number of men who have chosen to wear an engagement ring since 2007. This article also reports that 67% of men are open to the idea of wearing an engagement ring. The popularity of this trend is further cemented by more male celebrities seen sporting engagement rings such as Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran, and Michael Buble.
Just as trends come and go, the tradition of engagement rings also has evolved over time. While there was a decline in the popularity of engagement rings after World War I, there is now a resurgence in this trend.. There are various engagement ring styles available that would suit the personality and style of the wearer whether male or female.
Why Don’t Men Wear Engagement Rings Traditionally?
The original meaning of the engagement ring is that it is a symbol of a man’s “ownership” of a woman. This symbol explains why it is the woman who must wear the ring. Again, as mentioned above, it will vary from one cultural tradition to another.
The meaning of the engagement ring has dramatically changed from “ownership” into a representation of love and eternity. With this renewed symbolism, it does not exclude men from wearing an engagement ring. However, this is a personal choice and something that the couple must agree on.
Growing Trend of Men’s Engagement Rings
Whether you are a couple who upholds traditions or you want to create your own, the concept of men wearing engagement rings is your choice. Men who prefer to (or not to) wear an engagement ring use the jewelry as an expression of their style and personality. Many jewelers offer customized and bespoke jewelry, which means you have the option to choose a matching style or create unique ones for each individual.
Like traditional engagement rings for women, men’s engagement rings can be crafted using various precious metals. You can also incorporate details and design from simple to extravagant. Men’s engagement rings can also feature a gemstone.
Regardless of tradition, modern men have the option to break those traditions and pave a new one. Modern men have embraced this new practice of wearing engagement rings so you can expect to see this trend continue in the years to come. After all, the ring is merely a symbol. The meaning behind the ring is what gives it its essence.
Best Engagement Rings for Men
If you agree to buy an engagement ring for your man, many options are available. Choosing the right engagement ring style must factor in the man’s personality and individual style, just as you would when buying a ring for a women.
The best materials for men’s engagement rings are yellow gold, white gold, platinum, sterling silver, palladium, titanium, and tungsten. You can also opt for modern choices like rose gold and cobalt. For the ring band, a classic or curved band would be a perfect choice. The edges can be domed, beveled, or flat. With men’s engagement rings, the bands are wider than those of women’s. The typical sizes for men’s rings have a band measuring from 4mm to 8mm in width.
There are as many options for men’s engagement rings as there are for women. Explore the different customization options to create a ring that reflects your personality type and encapsulates your relationship. Make sure to look for a jewelry designer that can customize these details to make your engagement ring uniquely yours. There is no other option than bespoke jewelry for couples who want to showcase their unique love story and what it symbolizes for their life. If, as a man, you choose to wear an engagement ring, you should also use this same approach.
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