The Rise of Engagement Bands for Men
Over the bank holiday weekend I was out shopping and browsing the windows of jewellery shops and designers, when it suddenly struck me how many engagement ring bands were available for men.
First thing that came to mind was: “why”? Then I felt guilty about being so old-fashioned and wondered if this was something I would consider. After all, the idea of swapping wedding bands has become the norm and does indicate an equal partnership as opposed to a proprietary act. Just like more and more ladies nowadays are contributing to the cost of their engagement ring, maybe swapping engagement rings would be a sign of our increasing emancipation as well.
Equality or Clever Sales?
I am all for equality, but then, could this just be businesses capitalising on the evolution of metrosexuality and the increase in same-sex marriages, or simply just trying to double their earnings? It was all a bit of a mystery to me. Then I spotted a photo of the overtly smiling Michael Bublé next to the display of male engagement ring bands, and realised that he was a staunch advocator.
I giggled as I tried to imagine the Prime Minister or the Duke of Cambridge donning a male engagement ring band, or should we call it a man-gagement ring?
In Latin American countries it has been a long-standing tradition for both the woman and the man to wear an engagement ring and in fact, the ring that was chosen to symbolise the engagement was then swapped to the other hand at the marriage ceremony. Michael Bublé married a lady with Argentinian roots and this was why he chose to wear an engagement ring band.
I was still left wondering if this craze would ever take off. Today we hear stories about ladies doing the proposing, even when once this was only acceptable on a Leap Year. I had often joked with F that, if he didn’t propose soon, I would propose to him but I had never actually considered getting him a ring. This then led me to think about what kind of ring I would buy for F, if indeed we decided that we would both have an engagement ring band.
Choosing a ‘Man-gagement Ring’
The available designs of these engagement rings are decidedly simple. There are relatively few ostentatious examples with huge diamonds, glittering and shine, but many more sophisticated, sleek rings with little ornamental adornments or an engraved pattern.
Popular settings for the bands seem to include more solid and arguably more masculine metals such as titanium, cobalt, tungsten or even carbon fibre, and I can see these suiting the male ideal of fast cars and funky shades.
I find myself drawn to the ring that was created using two materials that intertwine to make a two-tone band, but also love the modest woven patterns and the matt combined with polished finish. I had no idea how much scope there was for the male engagement ring band.
Gems seemed always to be a modest affair, including small indented diamonds or little onyx gems for a hint of colour.
I don’t suppose we can ignore the fact that the male engagement ring is taking a place on centre stage, and the more open-minded side of me believes that the rise of such engagement rings allows a bit of freedom for women to dictate the timing of an engagement should she wish.
Of course men should wear what they want and whatever makes them feel good and couples should be encouraged to celebrate their love however they feel they want to, but the sceptical part of me does wonder if this whole shiny solution to a perceived problem of inequality that we didn’t actually know existed, is a way for businesses to make their fortune. And I know that, despite F’s love of all things new and innovative, I am sure he would prefer we stuck to the traditional engagement ring idea.