The initial marketing campaign to make men’s engagement rings more popular failed in the 1940’s. In recent years however, more men than ever before have been showing off their groom-to-be status with a ring. Men’s engagement rings, also known as mangagement rings, could be the next big thing in the world of jewellery – but are they really here to stay? To investigate this new trend and find out whether mengagement rings will break into the mainstream jewellery market, we’ve teamed up with diamond rings retailer Angelic Diamonds.
Times are changing
Did you know that in the 1940’s and 50’s men did not even wear a wedding ring? It’s thought that the rise of men’s wedding rings began during World War II, with men choosing to wear a ring as a reminder of their wives and children back at home. Men’s engagement rings were first seen in 2011, when a number of celebrities began to show their support. Wearing any ring at all comes down to personal choice however, for example, Prince Phillip and Prince William never wear their wedding rings at all.
The rise of the male engagement ring can also be linked to same-sex marriages. In 2013, same-sex marriage was finally legalised in the UK, with the first gay wedding taking place one year later, in 2014. A number of jewellery retailers responded by releasing their own ranges of men’s engagement rings, which also appealed to women wanting to buy a ring for their partners.
Google data reflects this new trend too; by the end of 2014, search volumes for ‘male engagement rings’ had reached a total of 54,000. This figure had more than doubled by the end of 2017, at 12,100 searches. The number of searches for this term hit an all-time high in February of 2016, around leap day. It is traditional for women to propose to their partners on leap day and this was reflected in the searches, which reached a total of 22,000.
How men and women are reacting to the trend
Men’s wedding rings are common these days, however, male engagement rings are still quite rare. Male celebrities have been welcoming change however; in 2010, Michael Bublé was spotted wearing an engagement ring after getting engaged to his fiancé. Bublé explained to journalists that in Argentina, where his fiancé is from, male engagement rings are customary. Additionally, Johnny Depp was spotted wearing a ring in 2014, after becoming engaged to Amber Heard.
This trend has also been embraced by female celebrities – Jennifer Hudson famously proposed to her fiancé with a diamond ring just a few months after he proposed to her. For some men however, the thought of wearing an engagement ring is still rather strange. Research shows that a rising trend for men’s engagement watches emerged around the same time as the engagement ring trend. 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. Evidently, more women than ever before are wishing to treat their loved ones with an engagement gift of their own.
Many feminists have also praised the idea of mengagement rings, with some claiming that by wearing a ring, women signify their taken status to the world – men on the other hand have always been free to go without a ring, as though they are still single.
For other however, male engagement rings are a simple symbol of their appreciation for their partners. So, is this trend here to stay in 2018? It is clear that jewellery wearing habits have undergone a huge transformation over the past few years, but only time will tell if this trend will truly stick around in the long term. It is thought that the jewellery industry could gravitate towards engagement watches if men’s rings do not take off. Whatever the outcome however, it’s always good to see couples showing their appreciation for each other with a symbol of their affections.