The Man-gagement Ring Trend?

In her song “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It),” Beyoncé tells male listeners how to maintain happy relationships: put engagement rings on the hands of longtime girlfriends. Hubby Jay-Z may want to consider writing the sequel song for men, especially considering this week’s news reports touting the man-gagement ring as the next big thing.

Media outlets ABC news and Details magazine both report about man-gagement rings–diamond bands for men to wear prior to the wedding.

Reasons for the purchases range from celebrity culture à la Jennifer Hudson’s Neil Lane ring gifted to fiancé David Otunga (see photo) to jewelry manufacturers trying to launch a trend.

Neil Lane man-gagement band gifted by Jennifer Hudson to David Otunga

But perhaps the biggest momentum comes from longtime efforts by this industry (evident in part here and here) to promote men’s jewelry.

At least some fine jewelers are reporting inquiries and even sales.

Brad Gross of H. L. Gross Brothers told ABC News that he doesn’t think the idea is simply a “marketing ploy by jewelers to sell more merchandise,” as the interviewer suggests, and John Cordova of California-based Robbins Brothers told Details that he fields as many as 25 inquiries a week about men’s engagement bands.

Meanwhile, Jeff Wickersham, co-owner of Wickersham Jewelry in Rothschild, Wis., told JCK yesterday that he first learned about engagement rings for men at the Retail Jewelers Organization show in August, where a rep for Scott Kay introduced him to the idea. Sales haven’t yet caught on at his store, located in central Wisconsin, but he maintains that he’s prepared anyway. “We have a couple of lines that can be used for [man-gagement rings], but we don’t come out and say they can be used for it [in signage],” he says. That may change soon enough. “After our Christmas season, we’ll look into the idea further,” Wickersham adds.

Are man-gagement rings a thing to watch for in 2010? Retailers, designers, and consumers, please weigh in by way of the comment function.

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