In the 1940’s, diamond ring manufacturers launched a campaign to normalize men’s engagement rings. Although this proved to be unsuccessful, recent years have seen more men than ever choosing to show off their engaged status with a ring. Mangagement rings (male engagement rings) look like they are here to stay in 2018. Together with diamond rings retailer Angelic Diamonds, we investigate the origins of this new trend and evaluate whether men’s engagement rings will finally break into the mainstream jewellery market.
A growing trend
Men’s enagement rings were first spotted on the internet in 2011. Ever since, we’ve seen a number of men, including many celebrities, showing their support. To reflect on just how much times have changed, it should be noted that in the 1940’s and 50’s men did not even wear wedding rings. It’s thought that men first began to wear wedding rings as they went away to war, so that they would be reminded of their wives and children at home.
Wearing a ring is a matter of personal preference however, Prince William for example never wears his wedding ring, nor does Prince Phillip.
The recent rise of the mangagement ring has also been influenced by same-sex marriages. The UK legalised same-sex marriage in 2013, with the first gay wedding being held on March 13th 2014. Following this, many jewellers released a range of men’s engagement rings, in a move which also appealed to women wanting to propose to their partners.
This trend is reflected by Google data. By late 2014, the search volume for ‘male engagement rings’ reached 54,00 – by September 2017, this number had more than doubled, reaching 12,100. Searches for the term hit an all-time high in February 2016 (around leap day) when it is traditional for women to propose to their partners, reaching 22,000 in total.
What do men think of the trend?
Men are commonly seen wearing wedding rings, however, it’s much less common for them to wear engagement rings. For men who wish to show off their engaged status to the world, the trend has been welcomed. Michael Bublé was seen wearing an engagement ring in 2010 after getting engaged to his Argentinian fiancé. He explained that in Argentina, it is customary for men to wear a ring. After Johnny Depp bought an engagement ring for Amber Heard in 2014, he was spotted wearing the ring himself, explaining that the original had been too large. Female celebrities have also embraced the trend – Jennifer Hudson proposed to her fiancé with a ring just a few months after he proposed to her.
Some men still do not feel entirely comfortable wearing a ring however. This is possibly linked to the rising trend for men’s engagement watches, which emerged at around the same time. H.Q Milton, a vintage watch retailer recently revealed that they had noticed an uptake in engagement watch sales. Similarly, the co-founder of Christopher Ward the luxury watch retailer noted that customers were now buying watches with engraved personal messages for their fiancés. It is clear that more women than ever are now wanting to spend money on their partners for engagement jewellery, rather than it being one-sided.
What do women think of the trend?
Women have embraced the trend, with many feminists coming out in praise of the idea. Some have claimed that by wearing an engagement ring, women are signifying their taken status, whilst men have always been free to advertise themselves as single.
Others simply want to show equal appreciation to their other half by spending money on something special that they can enjoy – just as they enjoy their own rings.
So, is this trend here to stay for the long term? It is evident that jewellery wearing habits have already changed a lot in recent years, but only time will tell if mengagement rings are here to stay for the long haul. Perhaps the jewellery industry will gravitate towards engagement watches instead. Whatever the outcome, it’s nice to see couples showing their appreciation for each other with a symbol of their love.