This year, legendary jewelry house Tiffany & Co. released its first-ever line of engagement rings for men—a collection of hefty platinum and titanium designs with a solitaire diamond and a signet silhouette—and the move was indicative of a major trend: More and more men are opting for an engagement ring.
“We have seen a rise in engagement rings for men—particularly in the LGBT community, but this interest is growing for all couples, regardless of gender or sexual orientation,” says Jordan Yoder, co-founder of Jordan Jack, an online retailer for men’s engagement and wedding bands. “A ring is a defining ingredient of this major life milestone. It’s how we memorialize the occasion and communicate the change in relationship status to others in daily life.”
Tonia Zehrer of Signet Jewelers—the powerhouse behind Jared, Kay, and Zales—agrees that the script has been flipped. “Lately many couples have been opting for a non-traditional way of doing things, and men want bling too!” she says. “They’ve always shopped the classics, but now they want fancier diamonds, pearls, bolder chains, and more.”
When engagement rings first came about centuries ago, they were symbols of ownership. “The wearer was literally ‘off the market,’” Yoder says. “Couples are looking to take that back and redefine this symbol to showcase equality in their partnership and commitment to each other.”
And, much like every other aspect of the wedding, rings are getting more and more personalized; men and women alike are looking for something unique. “There are no rules anymore,” says Darryl Moore, founder and creative director of Houston-based D’Concierge Weddings & Events, who proposed to his boyfriend three years ago with a silver band and diamond eternity band soldered together. “There’s no wrong or right. Men are not afraid to wear what they want to represent their love.”
We’re all for it. That said, we’ve gathered some information that may be helpful in picking out that perfect engagement ring for your partner, whether you’re shopping alone or together. Read on for our deep-dive on tips and tricks surrounding the trend.
Meet the Expert
- Darryl Moore is the founder and creative director of Houston-based D’Concierge Weddings & Events. He’s been planning weddings for 13 years, and has worked with celebrities, athletes, and entertainers.
- Jordan Yoder is the co-founder of Jordan Jack, an online jewelry destination specializing in men’s engagement rings and wedding bands that offers a home try-on service for easier shopping.
- Lee Tucker is the head of merchandising, marketing, and creative operations at David Yurman.
- Tonia Zehrer is the senior vice president, chief merchandising officer for Signet Jewelers, the umbrella company for brands like Jared, Kay Jewelers, and Zales.
The thing that sets an engagement ring apart from the wedding band is personality—this is the place to get creative and incorporate meaning. So, do your research, Moore suggests. “Google what [certain elements] stand for, like why is the diamond round,” he says. His own ring is an imperfect circle of dark stones. “I didn’t want it to be perfect because I’m not, and marriage is not,” he says. “I also wanted a nod to Africa—if you look closely, it has the shape of Africa in it.” Jewelers like David Yurman have introduced skull-shaped rings, black diamonds, and more. “Since each person’s love story is unique, we don’t feel the need to follow any rules,” says Lee Tucker, head of merchandising for David Yurman.
Know Your Metals
Consider your partner’s lifestyle when selecting a metal, advises Yoder, co-founder of Jordan Jack. “If you work with your hands, you’ll want to consider a ring that is durable and resistant to scratches and corrosion; look for engagement rings crafted from tungsten or cobalt,” he says. “If you’re more concerned about a ring that will hold generational value and can be passed on in your family, a gold or silver engagement ring is the right choice for you.” Contemporary metals offer even more personalization: Titanium is hypoallergenic and gentle on the skin, for example, and stainless steel can be plated in a variety of colors.
Add Some Sparkle
Why should women have all the fun? There are a multitude of sleek, masculine ways to incorporate diamonds in men’s engagement rings. “We’re increasingly seeing men buying diamond-accented bands for that engagement moment, either in a pavé of smaller stones or with a single solitaire,” Tucker says. “No matter how trends change, it seems like the allure of a natural diamond—3-billion years in the making—still has the power to mark our most significant life milestones.” The Charles Tiffany setting at Tiffany & Co. is a great option for diamond lovers, as well: Styles feature either brilliant round or emerald-cut rocks up to 5 carats.
Can’t decide? There’s nothing wrong with having two rings, says Moore, who dons his formal one-of-kind ring when he’s out and about—“a conversation piece,” he says—and a rose-gold band at home. “Just like a woman, you might not want to wear your diamond every day, but still want to have something special and unique,” he shares. Have options to swap out depending on the day, and look for complementary pieces to stack or even solder together when it comes time to add a band. Another idea: Real-life couple Carter and Aaron exchanged “flair rings” from Gucci and The Great Frog in addition to more traditional bands.
We’re all for making the ring your own—but if you don’t know where to start, consider some options the experts say are trending. Yoder has seen rose gold and even bronze-colored bands picking up in popularity, while Zehrer notes that black diamonds set in white gold is a trend. “We’re also seeing a huge shift toward more embellished rings, featuring diamond accents with one, two, or three rows,” she adds.
The options can be overwhelming, Moore admits—and he knows firsthand. “When I proposed to my husband, I truly thought the ring selection would be so easy; once I stepped in to the jewelry store, I started sweating bullets,” he laughs. “It took me eight months of watching my husband and what he wears and what I think he would love.” Ultimately, though, an engagement ring is a must. He adds, “It’s sexy to be married and have that ring on your finger!”