August 6th, 2019 | by Shein Htun

Do Men Wear Engagement Rings?

Ed Sheeran raised a few eyebrows in early 2018 when he walked the red carpet at an event wearing a ring on his finger. The British singer already revealed his engagement to his childhood sweetheart, but fans wondered if the ring meant that he already tied the knot. He hadn’t; he was just wearing an engagement ring. Wait, do men wear engagement rings? The answer: It depends.

Sheeran is part of a small — but growing — trend of men opting to wear engagement rings to signal their status to the world.

“I never saw why men didn’t wear engagement rings,” he told reporters in February 2018. “Because it’s the same commitment either way.”

Why Do We Wear Engagement Rings?

The practice of presenting engagement rings dates back hundreds of years, according to the American Gem Society. In 1477, it’s believed that Archduke Maximilian of Austria commissioned the first diamond engagement ring for his fiance, Mary of Burgundy.

The engagement ring trend took off from there, with men presenting women with engagement rings to show other potential suitors that they’re off the market.

woman holding man's arm wearing engagement ring

Engagement rings for women were also a financial transaction until the 1930s, because women could sue if their fiances broke things off. The reason: A woman was considered “damaged goods” if she was engaged but not married and could use the money from the sale of the ring to get back on her feet post-breakup.

Do Guys Wear Engagement Rings?

There aren’t any hard numbers on how many guys wear engagement rings because it’s still a budding practice.

The history of guys wearing engagement rings dates back to at least 1926 when L. Bamburger & Co. — the company that eventually became Macy’s — placed ads in East Coast newspapers featuring engagement rings for men. The ads featured men sporting rings with macho-sounding names like the Stag and the Master.

The ads never caught on with men because engagement rings were thought to be a female-only accessory. The view might be shifting, though: According to a survey conducted by The Knot, about five percent of guys wear engagement rings.

The reasons vary from person to person. For some couples, it’s tradition.

Singer Michael Buble wore an engagement ring after he proposed to now-wife Luisana Lopilato in 2010. “The boy also wears the engagement ring [in her home country of Argentina],” he said. “That’s what she tells me anyway.” Other men, like Sheeran, are doing it because they view marriage as a partnership where both sides take on equal roles and responsibilities — including wearing engagement rings.

man with beard wearing engagement ring

What Do Engagement Rings For Men Look Like?

Traditionally, engagement rings for women had a certain look: solitaire diamonds with silver or gold bands, possibly with some additional gems to accentuate it. But the bride-to-be of today is increasingly going for more unique engagement rings, individualized to them and their relationship, with multicolored stones and non-traditional bands.

The same goes for men. Some engagement rings for men are similar to wedding bands, while others are custom made with diamonds and other gems. The possibilities are wide open because not many guys wear engagement rings. “Cherry made it for me herself out of silver clay and I really like it,” Sheeran said of the engagement ring given to him by his fiance.

So, do men wear engagement rings? Yes — and there’s no better way to solidify your status as a couple before the wedding than to get his-and-hers engagement rings.

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