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When it comes to imagining an engagement scene, most people have a very traditional vision in their minds: a man gets down on one knee and gives a woman a large, diamond engagement ring.
But for many reasons, this practice has become outdated. From changing gender roles to the ethics of gems, the traditional scene is changing. These days, you may see men wearing tungsten rings for their engagement. In fact, you may see other jewelry worn by men, such as ceramic rings, to serve as promise rings for a pre-engagement commitment.
But is it now expected that men wear engagement rings? Should a man wear one?
Let's take a look at engagement rings for men. By understanding why people wear them and why or why not men should wear them, you can best decide if tungsten or ceramic rings are right for you or your fiancé as a married man to be!
Perhaps you've wondered where the practice of engagement and wedding bands started in the first place. It may help to know that this wasn't a tradition randomly started in the last one or two hundred years. In fact, the practice of wedding bands goes back to ancient times!
In Ancient Egypt, the circular shape of a band symbolized eternity, which is how long marriage was to last. They also believed in a “vein of love.” Egyptians said this was a vein that ran for a person's heart all the way to the fourth finger of the left hand, what people in the west call a “ring finger.”
The practice of this jewelry as a signifier of intent to marry or marriage itself evolved over several centuries and between different cultures. That's why the history of engagement rings in Ancient Rome is less romantic than with Egypt. In Rome, engagement rings were used to symbolize a contract rather than love. As a contract was signed between the groom and the bride's family, and women at this time belonged to someone, a ring was a sign that a woman had passed in ownership from father to husband.
The reasons and styles of bands continued to change until an astoundingly successful marketing campaign convinced people that diamonds were the only way to go. But as people reevaluate their own styles and consider the environmental and humane issues connected to mining diamonds, engagement bands vary with pieces such as ceramic and tungsten rings.
Looking at the history of engagement bands, it may be easier to understand why women usually wear them in recent history. Between the historical links to male ownership of women to forced trends that made engagement jewelry unaffordable, it didn't make sense for men also to have a diamond on their hands.
But just as marriage customs changed from Egypt to Rome, traditions continue to change today. When couples commit to being engaged, they may both want to wear a symbol of love and promise. Now more than ever, it makes sense for men to wear engagement rings. Not only are pieces such as ceramic and tungsten rings on-trend and affordable, but it also demonstrates to the world the love and affection a man has for his fiancé.
In addition, as the trend of diamond rings drops, bands are more affordable than ever. For example, almost all tungsten rings are less than $200, while most are under $100. As for ceramic rings, you would have to look hard to find a good value piece for over $100.
Forget 3 months of your salary used to buy one band. Instead, you can get two stylish bands for less than $500!
If you're a man, you may need to decide if engagement jewelry is right for you. However, there is no right or wrong answer. It truly comes down to the couple. For some, it's not important. For others, wearing this symbol of monogamy is expected.
Because bands like tungsten and ceramic rings are so affordable, money is now far less of an issue. And as we change and grow as a society, the history of bands is less relevant. Men can be expected to do what creates more equality in a relationship.
So, it all comes down to personal preferences. As a couple, ask each other and yourself a few questions:
For many, a band on your finger is a sign of a promise. In fact, laws regarding breach of promise to marry were taken very seriously. If you gave someone this little piece of jewelry, you were essentially contractually obligated to follow through on a marriage. Now, engagements can be broken off easily. But by wearing something every day that represents your commitment to your partner, you are showing your intent to keep your promises.
Ceramic and tungsten rings show your dedication to one person. For some partners, it makes them feel more at ease knowing a man is willing to show that promise outwardly. So if it's important to your partner that you wear one, you may want to strongly consider doing so.
Now let's address the second question: do you feel comfortable wearing an engagement ring?
There are many reasons you may not. For example:
These are good reasons not to wear an engagement band. If wearing this piece makes you feel uncomfortable, it's best to be honest with your partner and explain why you prefer a different option.
Luckily there are some alternatives:
No matter what, there is always a way to find a compromise between partners about how to show love and commitment during an engagement period.
Practices vary for both men and women about whether engagement rings should be worn after a wedding. Some people will add the wedding band to the engagement piece on the same finger during the wedding ceremony. They can wear both pieces of jewelry after the wedding.
For others who invested large sums into the engagement ring, wearing the engagement may not be practical. People who often travel or work where an expensive ring wouldn't be safe may just wear a more simple wedding band.
Some choose to have distinct engagement vs. wedding rings and keep the engagement piece as a keepsake.
With tungsten and ceramic rings, you can have each piece custom engraved. And with the affordable prices of these durable pieces, you can have one for the engagement. Then, after the wedding, put the old piece away as a keepsake of your engagement. Now you can wear the wedding band.
The decision of who pays for engagement rings depends on the couple and what cultural traditions they want to adhere to. Both people may choose to purchase the rings together. On the other hand, each may want to buy rings for the other. Or the person who makes more money may even purchase both rings.
This comes down to a couple's budget and financial situation in addition to preference. But there is no rule in place about who is expected to pay.
When looking back at the history of engagement rings, you can see a series of expectations regarding who should wear an engagement ring. But that doesn't mean you and your partner need to adhere to the same reasoning and traditions.
If a couple wants to use an engagement ring as an opportunity to show the world how much they love each other, engagement rings for men are the perfect way to do that. And if you're looking for durable rings for men that are affordable and hypoallergenic, look no further than our tungsten and ceramic rings!
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