It isn’t often you hear a couple say they’re shopping for men’s engagement rings, but in reality the concept isn’t  so new.  The more “hip” and urban the couple, the more likely they are to look for gender equity in their choice of wedding jewellery.  Instead of relying on the gender roles of their parents’ generation, newly engaged couples want to begin their marriages as equal partners.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that women are “proposing” to men with an engagement ring – although it could mean that – but rather that both parties should agree to wear one.

Some men will reject the idea of wearing an “engagement ring” unless their fiancé presents the ring as an engagement gift.  Then, it is usually accepted and proudly worn on the right ring finger.  However, with the widening acceptance of men’s engagement rings – and mounting pressure on men to wear one – many will compromise by wearing a unique or alternative engagement band on the left hand.

In order to fully understand why guys often baulk at men’s engagement rings, it’s important to consider the reasons why they buy women an engagement ring in the first place.  For one, an engagement ring on a woman’s left ring finger tells the world she is “taken”, “spoken for”, or otherwise “off the market”.  A second reason is the message that a ring sends about the giver’s buying power. When you consider the difference in price between a ¼ carat diamond and a 2.5 carat solitaire, a diamond engagement ring can say a lot about a couple’s wealth.  When women buy men’s engagement rings, they are less concerned about social status and “ownership” and more interested in a genuine expression of their loving relationship.

Since a man’s engagement ring is usually a plain or minimally embellished band, it isn’t always obvious that it’s an engagement ring.  Except for the fact that it is worn on the left ring finger, it might easily be mistaken for a fashion ring.  That’s why some women prefer to have the ring inscribed with the upcoming wedding date, a loving phrase, or a special symbol of their love.  A sterling silver “Forever” ring or a men’s promise ring will often suffice as a men’s engagement ring, but most couples opt for a something a little more substantial.

Men’s engagement rings can look a lot like wedding rings, or they can look completely different.  The only rule here is that “there are no rules!”  So if you are considering an engagement ring there are many different options available. You can look at bands with a single colored gemstone, like a ruby, sapphire or diamond, or you can opt for a plain gold band with a meaningful inscription.  Many couples look for engagement rings that have a similar look without actually matching.  Others want a ring made of polished titanium or tungsten because it will maintain its lustrous shine.

The truth is, once you get past the initial hesitation about wearing a ring the concept makes a lot of sense.  After all, when a couple gets engaged, they are both “off the market”, and they both will wear a wedding band some day, so why not start now with his and hers engagement rings?