So far, the number of weddings in 2022 has been off the charts. We can only imagine that with all of this romance in the air, more happy couples are moving in the direction of engagement.
These days, there’s a lot more gender equality in the wedding industry than there used to be. Still, there’s one thing that seems to be more geared toward the ladies than the guys: engagement rings.
Why don’t guys wear engagement rings? If you’re looking for engagement rings in Atlanta, will you be able to find an engagement ring for men?
To get a better sense of why women are more likely to wear an engagement ring than men, we’ll have to turn to history. Strap in, because this story gets a little weird (and a lot sexist).
The Origin of Engagement Rings
To get started on this journey, we’re going to have to go back in time, and we’re talking way back in time. That’s right, we’re going all the way to Ancient Rome.
The first known iteration of the modern engagement ring wasn’t so much about love as it was ownership. When women pledged to marry a man, they wore a ring made of silver, ivory, gold, or other valuable materials to signify that she had entered into a sort of “contract” with her future husband–which is to say that she legally belonged to him.
It wasn’t until the year 850 that engagement rings were granted “official” meaning. Pope Nicholas I declared the engagement ring a religious symbol that represented the promise to marry. While the concept of ownership was not included in the official memo, it did align with the church’s beliefs that women were secondary to men.
The Breach of Promise to Marry
Now, let’s fast-forward to a time that’s a bit more recognizable to us today–but in many ways, still looks quite different. This is where things get a little more PG-13, but don’t say we didn’t warn you!
In the early 20th century, a woman’s virginity was considered crucial if she were to be eligible for marriage. In other words, a woman who lost her virginity before marriage would see her prospects reduced greatly, and often to zero. Because women weren’t allowed to open their own bank accounts and couldn’t secure well-paying jobs, marriage wasn’t just romantic or ideal–it was a necessary part of social and financial survival.
Yet, many engaged couples did decide to engage in the very pre-marital activities that could leave a woman without options. The idea was that she was already getting married, and in exchange for the promise of a future, he was entitled to take what one might call a test drive.
This is where the Breach of Promise to Marry came in. If a man deflowered his fiance and then backed out on his agreement to marry her, he basically left her with no financial recourse. As a result, women in the United States were allowed to file a lawsuit against their former beaus, enabling them to recuperate their losses for at least a few months.
The Rise of Engagement Rings as Collateral
What does this all-but-unbelievable law have to do with engagement rings? By the early 1940s, most states had decided that this law was archaic, and outlawed lawsuits on the grounds of a canceled engagement. However, this change in laws did nothing for the women whose status as marriageable was at stake.
Engagement rings were far from unheard of at this time, but a significant shift did occur alongside the change in laws: men started offering engagement rings at a high value. Gold, diamonds, and the works were offered to women as a sort of virginity collateral. If the man backed out after taking his fiance’s virginity, she would at least have the ring, and that was worth money.
Around that same time, the British diamond mining company known as De Beers coined a permanently trend-setting slogan. That slogan was (and we bet you can guess!) the infamous, “A diamond is forever.” With the help of Hollywood stars and the leaders in women’s jewelry, that slogan became known from east to west and diamonds became the most popular stone in engagement rings across the nation.
Are There Engagement Rings for Men Today?
The good news is that these days, engagement rings don’t represent ownership and they’re not offered as collateral in the event that your fiance leaves you high and dry. Now, engagement rings are simply part of the evolution of wedding traditions and represent nothing more than the love between two people and their commitment to one another.
So, are there engagement rings for men in 2022? The short answer is yes! An estimated 7% of men do wear engagement rings, although they often forgo the central stones in favor of simple bands or embedded stones. In fact, big names like Ed Sheeran have been spotted wearing engagement rings of their own.
If your beloved is a guy who wants to rock an engagement ring, nothing is stopping him! Together, you can set new trends and make new meanings as you embark on your future.
Head to the Best Jewelry Store in Atlanta for Your Diamonds
Most people don’t realize just how strange the history of engagement rings really is. The good news is that we’ve moved well beyond the days of ownership and contracts and now, there’s no reason why you can’t buy an engagement ring for men.
Whether you’re looking for mined or lab grown diamonds in Atlanta, you’re in the right place. To create the engagement ring of your dreams, get started with our diamond inventory today.