Men’s Engagement Rings: The Ultimate Shopping and Styling Guide
In this guide to men’s engagement rings, explore the settings and various details that create the perfect engagement ring featuring lab-grown diamonds just for him.
More and more men are opting to wear engagement rings along with their wedding bands. From those with traditional taste to others with more avant-garde style, there are plenty of lab-grown diamond looks to choose from to celebrate your true love and true values.
How Men’s Engagement Rings Became a Timeless Choice
Men’s engagement rings have gradually become a symbol of an important milestone. While they first became prominent among members of the LGBTQ+ community, they are now becoming increasingly popular for couples of all sexual orientations.
Men’s engagement rings redefine the symbolism of engagement rings and their strong association with women, and indicate equality in a partnership and mutual commitment. They might be a relative novelty in the United States, but engagement rings for men are a mainstay in countries such as Sweden, Brazil, and Chile.
In some form or another, men’s engagement rings have been around since the 1920s. In 1926, The Atlantic reports in a 2014 feature, the department store L. Bamberger & Co ran an ad campaign portraying a man’s left hand holding a cigarette between the index and middle finger and a diamond adorning the ring finger.
“The rings even had ultra-macho names: the Pilot, the Stag, the Master,” The Atlantic reports. “But these campaigns were unable to overcome the ingrained femininity of the symbol, and the movement flopped.” That’s not surprising, as men did not even really wear wedding bands until World War II. At the height of the war, men that were deployed to the front started wearing rings to remember their wives and girlfriends.
Celebrities such as Michael Bublé, Johnny Depp, and Brooklyn Beckham wear (or used to wear) engagement rings that are markedly different from their wedding bands.
Men’s Engagement Rings: A Style Breakdown
Any ring can be an engagement ring, and that applies to all genders. Still, if you want to distinguish a men’s engagement ring from a wedding band, the engagement ring would feature a design with a larger focus on the center (such as a Signet ring) and/or a thicker band compared to the wedding band. For example, a plain gold wedding band would go with something like the Tetrad Ring or the Brushed Band Baguette.
Much like other types of men's jewelry, men’s engagement rings come in a wide variety of styles.
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Classic Engagement Rings
Classic engagement rings have moderate sheen, a semi-rounded surface, and a moderate degree of adornment. These characteristics have been popular in jewelry design for decades, and cannot be traced back to a particular period or decade. VRAI’s Inlay Band is a fitting example: measuring 3 mm in width, it combines a substantial appearance with a touch of scintillation, courtesy of a single Round Brilliant VRAI created diamond.
Art Deco Engagement Rings
Across all disciplines, Art Deco emphasizes length, verticality, and geometry. In jewelry design, this translates into the use of step-cut diamonds, especially Baguettes, Emeralds, and Asschers. In the case of Men’s engagement rings, incorporating Emerald diamonds in a band of substantial width will help you achieve that Art Deco-inspired look. VRAI’s Tetrad Ring with four Emeralds is an apt choice.
Vintage Inspired Engagement Rings
Vintage-inspired engagement rings emphasize the craftsmanship and the metalwork of the ring, and usually have a few elements that can immediately make you identify which decade provided the inspiration for the design. In the case of men’s engagement rings, they have a markedly hand-made feel. The Signet Ring featuring VRAI created diamonds draws from tradition and combines modern curves with a vintage-inspired shape.
Modern Engagement Rings
When we think of modern rings, the first thing that comes to mind is metal of different textures and abstract, futuristic shapes. These characteristics have been around long enough to become timeless, but they still retain futuristic qualities. The Pavé Border Band combines clean lines and the delicate shimmer of pavé set diamonds.
What Metal Works Best With Men’s Engagement Rings?
The most common metals for men’s engagement rings are platinum, white gold, yellow gold, and rose gold. Each color has its own defining characteristics. Yellow gold has a warm glow and is a classic choice that’s well-rooted in tradition. Rose gold is romantic and vintage-inspired, and suits both cool and warm-toned skin tones. White gold and platinum have a bright, white cast that looks modern and futuristic.
White gold and platinum do look very similar, but white gold owes its gleaming, white cast to rhodium plating, a process that entails dipping white gold in rhodium, and that has to be repeated every few years. When unplated, white gold has a warm-white glow. Platinum is naturally white, so it does not need replating.
How to Match Your Engagement Ring With Jewelry
You will wear your engagement ring, ideally, your whole life, so it should reflect your personal style and aesthetic. This becomes quite important when pairing it with other pieces of jewelry you might have. The most important aspect is going for whatever makes you comfortable. If that means you need to match, then fine. If not matching doesn't bother you, that’s a completely valid and legitimate style choice.
Not all rings are made alike. When it comes to pairing your engagement ring with a wedding band, you want to strive for stylistic consistency, as you’ll wear them on the same hand. There are several ways to achieve this. You can decide to match metals, but get different widths, or you can opt for different styles (say, an Infinity band and hammered ring) with the same metals.
When it comes to earrings, you have quite a bit of free rein. Earrings and rings are quite far from each other, so you can easily wear different styles (in terms of metals, adornments, and texture) while still maintaining a consistent look.
Rings and bracelets can neatly tie all the elements of an outfit together. Since they are worn in close proximity, it’s important to match them carefully. Wear them on different hands if you’d like to avoid having your extremities look too crowded. If you decide to wear them on the same hand, you just want one statement jewel. So if you’re already wearing an engagement ring, make sure the bracelet is on the sleeker side.
Much like other jewelry, the metals used to make the watch’s case include steel, gold, silver, platinum, and titanium. Typically, the color of the watch’s metal should complement the colors of other metal accessories. This does not necessarily apply to your wedding and engagement ring, so you have substantial stylistic freedom in this regard.