So you're loved-up and ready to pop the question to the man in your life, but how do you choose a beautiful men's engagement ring to seal the deal?
From Ed Sheeran to Neil Patrick Harris, plenty of celebrity men are sporting engagement rings. The 2019 Jewelry and Engagement Study by The Knot found that around 6% of all heterosexual men received an engagement ring and 49% of male same-sex couples exchanged a single ring, with 40% exchanging two.
With proposals to men on the rise, let's answer some of your burning questions and take a look at the most popular engagement ring styles for men.
Image credit: Nick Karvounis
Do Men Wear Engagement Rings?
The answer is of course, YES! A ring signifies an intention to spend a lifetime together, and many men have received engagement rings as symbols of commitment. Your love story is unique, and while there are plenty of traditions to follow, you can always carve your own path.
Many same-sex couples are also embracing the idea of both wearing engagement rings; marriage is an equal partnership after all, so why not?
Plenty of women have also given engagement rings to their future-spouses. While this is traditionally done on 29th February on a leap year, there are no rules—you can pop the question any day of the year you choose!
Here at Blue Nile, we believe you should celebrate your love the way that feels right for you.
A Quick History of Men's Engagement Rings
Men's engagement rings have actually been available in the United States for nearly 100 years. In 1926, L. Bamberger & Co, a popular store in New Jersey, advertised men's engagement rings in the local newspapers. The adverts were stereotypically macho and designed to appeal to the average man with money to spend.
Understandably, the trend didn't catch on in the 1920s because most guys weren't even wearing wedding rings back then. It wasn't until the 1940s when famous faces such as Humphrey Bogart began wearing a wedding band that their popularity began to soar.
Initially, most men's engagement rings were simple metal bands, but this has evolved over time into more contemporary and ornate designs including those with diamonds, gemstones, and mixed metals.
Popular Engagement Rings for Men
If you're just starting your search for the perfect ring, you'll be pleased to know that there is thankfully much more choice now than ten or twenty years ago. From the precious metal you choose or whether you include diamonds or other stones, there are endless options to suit all tastes and budgets. Here are some popular engagement ring styles for men.
Classic Metal Engagement Bands: For the traditionalist
When it comes to a classic, why reinvent the wheel? For many men, a simple metal band is the perfect choice as an engagement ring. Traditional metal bands feature a higher domed outside profile and Blue Nile's comfort fit rings also have curved inner edges, making them a pleasure to wear. Your choice of metal will depend on the lucky guy's personal preference, style, and skin tone. From yellow gold to white gold and platinum, there are options to suit everyone.
Textured Men's Engagement Rings: A casual alternative
For the contemporary guy who appreciates the little details, a brushed metal engagement ring could be the perfect choice. The textured metal band has a more relaxed matte look than a highly polished metal ring. You can also combine the two with many men's rings fusing a polished band with a brushed metal inlay, which offers an appealing contrast.
Black Metal Engagement Rings: For a masculine look
For a more masculine feel, many guys love the look of black engagement rings. These can be crafted from a range of metals including black titanium and tungsten. When given a brushed finish, they can have quite a modern, industrial look. Some black rings also incorporate a flash of precious metal like a band of rose gold or yellow gold.
Men's Diamond Engagement Rings: A timeless gesture
When it comes to engagement rings for women, a sparkling diamond is a popular centerpiece. But diamonds aren't just reserved for brides-to-be; plenty of men also opt for an elegant and sparkling diamond-set engagement ring. From a single diamond to a row of channel-set diamonds, there are styles to suit every taste. Choosing the perfect diamond takes time and consideration but it's worth it for the perfect sparkle.
If diamonds aren't your dude's thing, you could incorporate a favorite color gemstone or a birthstone.
What About the Details?
Once you've chosen the style of ring that is right for you (if you're choosing your own), or your guy (if you're shopping for your partner), it's time to look at some other important considerations.
Precious Metals: Which one is best?
Gold is one of the most popular and traditional choices for engagement rings for men because it is resistant to rust, tarnish, and corrosion. Depending on his preferences, style, and skin tone, you could opt for warm yellow gold, romantic rose gold, or cool and classic white gold.
Platinum is another popular option for men's engagement rings because it's naturally white sheen never fades over time and is the perfect backdrop to show off sparkling diamonds. For guys who prefer something less traditional, there are a number of other metals including titanium, tungsten, cobalt, and tantalum, all of which offer a different look, feel and finish.
Engagement Band Width: What's the best option?
Men's engagement rings come in a wider range of widths than women's. Thicker bands are more popular for guys with larger hands or those who work with their hands. Engagement rings that measure approximately 8mm wide (around four nickels stacked together) are the most popular choice, but there are rings available in all sizes from super-thin 2mm up to much wider.
Ring Size: Getting the perfect fit
For comfort, men's engagement rings should gently slide over the knuckle with no discomfort but fit snugly to the finger. Blue Nile also offers a range of comfort fit rings that are specially designed to be worn with ease for men who might not be used to wearing jewelry on their hands.
If you're buying your ring online, it's important to get the right ring size from home. Take a look at our ring sizing guide or order one of our ring sizers to be delivered to your home so you can buy with confidence.
Finish: Choosing the right texture
The finish of the engagement ring can be absolutely key to its look and how it suits its wearer. Men's engagement rings come in a wide range of attractive finishes including:
High Polish: High polish rings tend to be the most popular and feature a shiny and reflective surface. Be aware that some polished metals after more prone to scratching than others, so will need to be carefully looked after.
Matte Finish: A matte-finish ring is understated and subtle, and it may be the perfect choice for a guy who prefers a more relaxed look.
Sand-blasted: Gritty and industrial-looking, sand-blasted rings have a rough look, with no shine or reflection and a textured surface that better hides bumps and scratches.
Hammered: A hammered metal ring could be an ideal choice for guys who like a natural and rustic look. These often feature a smooth edge with a textured hammered metal band.
Engraved: For those who like the little details, there are many options for engraved men's engagement rings—from Celtic patterns to herringbone.
Pairing the Engagement & Wedding Rings
The engagement ring is a symbol of your intention to marry while the wedding ring cements this intention. Your choice of engagement ring may influence your wedding band, so keep this in mind when choosing yours.
Many people opt to buy engagement rings labeled as men's wedding rings, as they are interchangeable. Some may wish to choose rings of a similar style so they work well together, while others might go for more contrasting combinations. Many men's engagement rings are stackable and designed to fit perfectly with the chosen wedding band. The choice is totally up to you.
How to Wear & Care for Your Ring
Traditionally, the engagement ring is worn on the third finger of the left hand, but there's no hard and fast rule. Some men might wear their engagement ring on the customary finger, then move this to another finger when they get married to make way for the wedding ring. Another option is to stack the rings on the same finger—the choice is really yours.
It's also important to take into account lifestyle. Opting for a delicate or ornate ring for a guy who works with his hands might not be wise, and the same applies if your future husband regularly plays sports or has other hands-on hobbies.
It's wise to remove the ring when doing an activity that might expose it to an abrasive surface or heavy impact. Care for the ring by cleaning it with a gentle jewelry cleaner and soft bristle brush.
Diamonds are one of the hardest substances on earth, but they are not indestructible. If the ring contains diamonds, we recommend having it professionally cleaned and inspected every six months, or if it has undergone some sort of trauma. For more tips, take a look at our Diamond Care Guide.
What are you waiting for?
Finding the perfect engagement ring for your future husband may involve a little detective work, but the range available is expanding, so you're guaranteed to find something that says "I love you" in the best way possible.
With a beautiful engagement ring in your pocket and butterflies in your stomach, all that's left is to pop the question! So what are you waiting for?