What is the difference between an educated and uneducated person? Well, having a few letters beside my name I can answer that question. An educated person knows what they don’t know! What???? Let me illustrate. When you become a teenager, you think you are smarter than your parents. After all they are old and out of touch. In your twenties, you have the world by the tail. You are at your physical peak and can do pretty much whatever you want. In your thirties and forties, the body doesn’t respond as quickly and aches and pains begin to show up. All of a sudden, your parents look pretty smart! You are now educated about the reality of life. You start to understand how naive and dumb you were as a cocky teenager and young adult. What does this have to do with men and engagement rings? Simple. Many Americans assume engagement rings are just for women. Traditionally in America, this has been the case. But, would it surprise you to learn that almost 20% of American men already do, or would wear an engagement ring if given one?
There Is Nothing New Here
Have you ever heard of a Gimmal ring? A Gimmal ring consists of two or three links (hoops). The word means twin in Latin. They were popular back starting around the 16th century in England and Germany. When a couple announced their engagement, both the woman and man would wear a single matching link. During the wedding ceremony, the third band was connected with the other two forming the wedding set.
Back in the ’40s, film star Humphrey Bogart wore an engagement ring. More recently, Johnny Depp and Charlie Sheen have popularized men wearing engagement rings.
The Egalitarian Shift
Young people under the age of forty have a more egalitarian view of the world. It used to be for a woman wearing an engagement ring meant you were “off the market”. Young men have figured out what is “good for the goose, is good for the gander!” So many of them have embraced the idea of taking themselves out of play by sporting an engagement ring. Among the gay community, almost 50% of couples wear engagement rings.
Men Are Simple Creatures
Jewelry stores are built for women. Many men I know dread shopping in one. Jewelry is expensive and not very practical. It stands to reason that most men’s engagement rings are simple bands. They could be made from wood, stainless steel, tungsten, or precious metals like gold, platinum and silver. For those men who love jewelry, their engagement ring could include gems.
Some Men Are Sentimental
Traditionally, women hand down their rings to their daughter or some other special person. The recipient is reminded of the deep love and commitment shared by the original owner. Today, more young men see the value of handing down a ring to their daughter to give to their future husband. Or, they could give it to a son as a reminder of the love shared by his parents.
I retired from appraising jewelry five years ago. During my thirteen-year career, I can’t remember appraising a single gent’s engagement ring. I was just like many other uneducated people on this subject. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I thought that no “real” man needed an engagement ring. Imagine my surprise when researching this subject to learn that men’s engagement rings are becoming a thing. What encouraged me the most is that young men wanted the world to know they were committed to their relationship. I wish I had that same insight in 1972 for my first engagement. This new trend in men’s engagement rings is giving me hope for the future of the institution of marriage!