Will men’s engagement rings be the next big proposal trend?

24 Jul 2018

Men's engagement rings are a rising trend, but how did the trend emerge and will it catch on? 

Image: Nick Karvounis via Unsplash

It has recently been reported that wedding traditions are becoming a thing of the past, with brides and grooms opting for a more modern take on tradition or eschewing conventions altogether. However, one tradition that shows no signs of fading away is the wearing of an engagement ring, with most brides accepting a ring to signal their betrothal.  

Yet it has been noted that this trend is evolving and a rise in men wearing an engagement ring has become evident, with 5% of men currently wearing a ring before marriage. This was perhaps first heralded by a campaign in 1926 where American jewellery companies tried to popularise the concept of men’s engagement rings, although this was 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 ring on his 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? Diamond  engagement rings retailer Angelic Diamonds sheds some light on this trend revival. 

A rising trend

The male engagement ring first came back into the public eye in 2010 when Michael Bublé was pictured wearing one. The trend began to take hold with further male celebrities such as Johnny Depp showcasing that men can mark their engagement too.

Google data also supports the trend's increasing traction. In late 2014, the volume of searches for ‘male engagement rings’ reached 5,400 total searches with the 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.

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. 

Female celebrities have also had a part to play in turning tradition on its head and proposing to their partners; Jennifer Hudson proposed to her fiancé with a ring a few months after he proposed to her.

Will it stick?

However there is still resistance to the trend, with many men claiming to not feel entirely comfortable wearing an engagement ring. Men’s engagement watches are an alternative to rings and 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 to celebrate their engagement.

Neil Dutta, owner of Angelic Diamonds, comments: “We have certainly noticed an increased interest in men’s jewellery over the past few years. In particular, men are taking a much more active role in choosing the details and design of their ring, such as the metal and gemstone. We think that men’s engagement rings will become the norm in the next few decades as they realise that jewellery is something that both partners can enjoy and appreciate.”

Sources

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