The Rise of Men’s Engagement Rings

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The Rise of Men’s Engagement Rings

In 1926, American jewellery companies tried to popularise the concept of men’s engagement rings to no avail. Companies banded together to create a collaborative marketing campaign involving a series of adverts in several major newspapers. The ads, which attempted to associate men’s rings with masculinity, featured black and white images of a man smoking a cigarette – with a large ring on the third finger. To really push the concept of jewellery for ‘manly men’ the rings also featured names such as ‘The Master’ ‘The Pilot’ and ‘The Stag’. Unfortunately for the jewellery companies, the association of engagement rings with femininity was too deeply ingrained in people’s minds and the campaign fell flat.

In 2018 however, things have changed; male engagement rings, dubbed ‘mangagement’ rings by the press, are becoming increasingly popular. So, what caused this shift in public opinion and is this trend here to stay? Join us as we investigate with the help of Diamond engagement rings retailer Angelic Diamonds.

A rising trend

The male engagement ring first came back into the public eye in 2011. This year saw a number of men, including some of our favourite celebrities showing off their engaged status to the world with a ring of their own. According to Google data, the trend has been steadily gaining traction ever since. In late 2014, the volume of searches for ‘male engagement rings’ reached 54,00 total searches, with this figure more than doubling to 12,100 in September 2017. The number of total searches for this term reached an all-time-high in 2016, with 22,000 total searches.

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Same-sex marriage has also influenced the boom in popularity for men’s engagement rings. In July 2013, the UK legalised same-sex marriage and on March 13th 2014, the first gay wedding was held. Jewellers all over the country followed this by releasing a range of male engagement rings – a move which also appealed to women wanting to propose themselves.

To show just how much times have changed, it should be noted that men in the 1940s and 50’s did not even wear a wedding ring. It’s thought that men in this era first started wearing rings as they went off to war, so that they would have a reminder of their wives and children at home. It’s all down to personal preference however, for example, Prince William is never seen wearing his wedding ring and neither is Prince Phillip.

How men are reacting to the trend

Whilst it has long been the norm for men to wear wedding rings, it’s much less common for men to wear an engagement ring. Many men have welcomed the trend, wearing a ring to show off their engaged status to the world. In 2010, Michael Bublé was seen wearing an engagement ring, explaining that in Argentina, where his fiancée is from, it is customary for men to wear a ring. Johnny Depp was also spotted wearing an engagement ring, explaining that he had chosen to do so when the ring that he had bought for his fiancée was too big.

Celebrities have always had a huge influence on fashion trends, including jewellery. For example, when Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton with an 18-carat blue sapphire and diamond ring, the industry boomed. Jewellers all over the world responded to the demand by creating replicas, leading to an 800 percent rise in sales of imitation rings. It is speculated that the rise of male celebrities wearing engagement rings could spark a similar consumer response.

Female celebrities have also started adopting the trend – Jennifer Hudson proposed to her fiancé with a ring a few months after he proposed to her.

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It is evident, however, that there are still some men who do not feel entirely comfortable wearing an engagement ring. Alongside the ring trend, there has been an emerging shift towards men’s engagement watches. Vintage watch retailer H.Q Milton recently revealed that they have seen a significant uptake in the sales of engagement watches in recent months. On a similar note, the co-founder of luxury watch retailer Christopher Ward said that customers were now buying watches with engraved personal messages for their partners.

It would seem as though more women than ever before are wanting to spend money on their partners, rather than following the one-sided traditions of the past.

How women are reacting to the trend

Many feminists have come out in praise of the mangagement ring. Some claim that when a woman wears an engagement ring, it signals her taken status to the wold, whereas men are free to go without a ring, as though they are still single. Others have claimed that a women’s engagement ring acts like a ‘brand’, signifying her ownership.

For most however, an engagement ring is simply a way of showing their appreciation for their other half by spending money on something special for them to enjoy – just like their own ring. According to data however, just five percent of men currently wear an engagement ring, so the numbers are still largely unbalanced according to gender.

So, what does the future hold for male engagement rings? It would appear that modern jewellery-wearing habits have already changed a lot. Only time will tell if the trend for ‘mengagement rings’ is here to stay. Perhaps engagement watches will catch on and become more popular. Either way, it’s great to see couples showing their love for each other with a symbol of their affections.


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