History of engagement rings and their relationship with men
Since the 15th century, it has been customary to give your lover an engagement ring as a symbol of your desire to marry them. The male partner gets on his knees, ideally somewhere romantic, and proposes to his girlfriend, asking, “Will you marry me?”
When the partner is on board, they place the ring on the ring finger of their new fiancé’s left hand, after which the two are officially engaged. But can it work the other way around, you might ask? Is it common for men to wear engagement rings?
The history of engagement rings in brief
It is said that the ancient Egyptians were the first to wear a wedding band to symbolize the union of two individuals, although some believe that the Egyptians and Greeks could have worn engagement rings of some type. The first documented use of an engagement ring dates back to 1477, when Archduke Maximilian of Austria presented a ring to his fiancée, Marie de Bourgogne, to commemorate their engagement.
Diamonds were not found and presented as a sign of wealth and greatness until the mid-19th century. The common way to do this was to mount diamonds on rings – a method which became increasingly popular as a ring with a diamond was seen in the hand of almost every other woman. It is also believed that diamond engagement rings were more fashionable throughout the Victorian era. However, diamond purchases dropped from the turn of the 20th century until the middle, due to the Great Depression and World War I.
With the price of diamonds at an all-time low during World War II, De Beers launched its famous “A Diamond is Forever” marketing campaign, which helped make the diamond engagement ring a important to the engagement and wedding experience. As a result, it is still considered today that a spouse offers the other a diamond ring.
Engagement rings today
Since the 14th century, mankind has come a long way. Engagement rings were once seen as a symbol of “ownership” over women, making them the property of their respective husbands. However, the thought process involved in obtaining a ring for one’s future partner has changed – nowadays an engagement ring symbolizes a couple’s commitment to each other. Women are increasingly proposing to their partners, while same-sex couples are becoming engaged and married.
For decades, there has also been an Irish custom known as Bachelor’s Day, which states that every leap year, February 29, a woman can propose to a man. Surprisingly, this regulation even had a legal basis in England and Scotland for a time.
Fast forward to today, each partner has the opportunity to propose to the other, although it is still a tradition in most places to wait for the male partner to propose. So, is a guy supposed to wear an engagement ring when asked?
Engagement rings and men
Any man can wear an engagement ring if he feels confident to do so. Some men may not feel comfortable because of traditions, but they are completely free to do so and should not be embarrassed to show their love and devotion to their wife.
Over time and as we move forward, traditional gender roles are being dismantled. Women are increasingly proposing to men, while men in LGBTQ+ partnerships are proposing and being proposed.
As more and more men are proposed by their lovers, engagement rings for men are becoming more and more popular.
What do male engagement rings look like?
It should be understood that no matter who wears it, an engagement ring is an engagement ring. But there are several styles of engagement rings that a man may like to wear.
A male engagement ring can be anything; it will most certainly incorporate diamonds, as is customary. Either way, a band-style engagement ring, as opposed to a thinner shaped ring with a focal diamond, is more likely to be worn by a man.
Ring selection is a decision that should be made by them alone. They may like a “masculine” type engagement ring, but they may also be fine with a “feminine” ring. There is no right or wrong answer; it all comes down to personal taste.
There have also been occasions when male superstars, such as Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran, have worn engagement rings. As a result, the number of men wearing engagement rings, often referred to as “mengagement” rings, has increased.
On which hand should a men’s engagement ring be worn?
Again, there is no right answer to this question. An engagement ring can be worn on any finger of either hand, although depending on where you live there are customs regarding which hand to put it on.
In USA, UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, France, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Croatia, South Africa, Romania and in the majority of Asian countries, it is customary to wear engagement rings and wedding rings on the left hand. In Austria, Norway, Denmark, Spain, Russia, Portugal, Poland, Bulgaria, Greece and many other European and South American countries, they are traditionally worn on the right hand.
Some men may not like wearing an engagement ring
Men who work in particular professions may be prone to dirt on a regular basis. Anyone who works as a plumber, garbage collector, construction worker or any other unpleasant occupation understands how dirty hands can get. Naturally, this might not be something you want to do if your beautiful, expensive engagement ring gets muddy at work.
Putting on and taking off the ring can be tricky as it increases the risk of losing the ring – rings are small and surprisingly easy to misplace. It might be better for you to wear it around your neck or put it in a safe place at home. It all depends on the context and how you feel about the subject.
Is it important to wear an engagement ring?
It should be noted that in today’s world, no one is forced to wear a ring. Many young couples give up on buying or wearing rings because of the high expense. Sure, you can buy affordable rings to commemorate the occasion, but that’s entirely up to you. Engagement and marriage are about the love you have for your partner, not the bauble you wear on your ring finger.
Rings can really be a wonderful symbol of your love and are suitable for both men and women, as well as gender neutral people. But there’s nothing wrong with completely avoiding wearing a ring. Discuss your desires with your partner and agree on what he would like you to accomplish. If your spouse prefers you to wear an engagement ring in any way, it may be a good idea to do so to express your love.
(Devdiscourse journalists were not involved in the production of this article. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Devdiscourse and Devdiscourse claims no responsibility for them.)