Is It Really Time for the “Man-gagement Ring?”

An increasing number of articles—here’s one today—are making the case that the time for the male engagement ring has arrived.

“Man-gagement rings” are certainly more popular than they were 10 years ago. Singer Michael Bublé not only has an engagement ring, he’s proudly displayed it. They are currently sold at British retailer H. Samuel and Cartier. Amazon also carries a few

Some think this has been fueled by the increase in same-sex marriages. But it just might be an idea whose time has come. After all, the logic is simple. Women get an engagement ring. Why not the guy?

And according to a marriage historian quoted in The Daily Telegraph, it’s only in the last century that most American males began wearing wedding rings: 

[In the 1920s,] jewelers went on a campaign to make them popular, but it initially made very little headway. The practice began to spread during the Second World War, as a way of signifying, that despite the separation of war, the married man was going to broadcast his commitment by wearing a ring. It became especially widespread in the 1960s and 1970s as new ideas of mutuality emerged. 

Could the male engagement ring become just as prevalent? A recent survey from Men’s Health and TheKnot.com said that 17 percent of men would be willing to wear a “man-gagement ring.” One out of seven grooms-to-be represents a nice market. (And yes, they asked about “man-gagement rings.” Think how many might agree without such a silly name.)   

Still, that means most men—over 80 percent—have no interest whatsoever. Skepticism certainly abounds. Details quotes the founder of the Men’s Registry: “The groom’s engagement band is just a sales tactic invented by jewelers to trick young couples into spending money.”

Yet the irony is, the industry has not pushed this concept to any noticeable extent, at least in the U.S. And even now most big players seem uninterested. David Bouffard, spokesman for Signet, which owns H. Samuel, says: “While that is evidently a trend in the U.K., we are not seeing it in the U.S. and therefore do not have a specific ‘man-gagement’ ring assortment.” He adds that if a groom-to-be does want an engagement ring, Signet will be happy to sell him one.

As would most jewelers. But we may be seeing a chicken-and-egg situation here. If there is no campaign to make male rings popular, demand won’t increase. But nobody is sure that demand exists. So no one’s pushing them. 

What do you think? Are we missing out?

JCK News Director