July 22nd, 2020 | by Shein Htun

Do Men Wear Engagement Rings?

Ed Sheeran raised a few eyebrows when he walked the red carpet in 2018 wearing a ring on his finger. Did he tie 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.

From there, the engagement ring trend took off. To show other potential suitors they’re off the market, men presented women with engagement rings.

woman holding man's arm wearing engagement ring

Engagement rings for women were also a financial transaction until the 1930s. The reason is that women could sue if their fiancé broke things off. Moreover, a woman was considered “damaged goods” if she was engaged, but not married. And could use the money post-breakup by pawning the ring.

Do Guys Wear Engagement Rings?

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

The history of guys wearing engagement rings dates back to at least 1926 when L. Bamberger & 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 yellow gold bands, possibly with some additional gems. 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 metal bands like rose gold.

The same goes for men. Most engagement rings for men are similar to metal wedding band styles, 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. We at With Clarity getting a diamond engagement band, and then a simpler band for the wedding. 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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