Last year, more than 1.2 million couples got married. Your wedding day is a very special opportunity to acknowledge the love that you and your partner share alongside your family and friends.
Before you do this, you and your partner get to privately acknowledge the commitment that you are ready to make to one another. Whenever you choose to pop the question, your proposal and engagement is a unique moment just for the two of you so you want it to be perfect. And this means finding the perfect engagement ring.
While traditionally, only women wore engagement rings, in recent years we have seen a huge increase in the popularity of men's engagement rings. This may be due to the increase in same-sex marriages in America or it might reflect the fact that men generally now feel more comfortable wearing jewelry. Whatever the reason for choosing a men's engagement ring, this is a wonderful way to symbolize you and your partner's commitment to one another.
However, if your partner is going to wear their engagement ring for the rest of their lives, you want to pick a ring that they will truly love. Not sure where to start? Then you're in the right place!
Read on to find out everything you need to know about how to choose an engagement ring for your partner today.
A Brief History of Men's Engagement Rings
Historically, engagement rings date right back to ancient Rome, where they were often made from gold, flint, copper, or ivory. However, for thousands of years, they were solely reserved for women. Fortunately, that has changed a lot in the last 100 years.
In fact, World War II played a significant role in the rising popularity of male wedding and engagement rings. With thousands of men forced to head overseas to fight, wedding and engagement rings gave them a symbol of their love to cherish and take with them.
Perhaps because of this, they have since become a symbol of success and prosperity, as well as commitment.
In recent years, we have seen a huge number of celebrities embracing men's engagement ring styles. For example, in July 2021, Brooklyn Beckham proudly displayed his engagement ring after proposing to Nicola Peltz.
While traditional wedding bands tend to be fairly plain, engagement rings are a little more adventurous. This means they provide the perfect opportunity to create something more stylish and exciting.
So, when it comes to choosing an engagement ring for your partner, where do you start? Let's take a look at some of the important things you need to consider!
Keep Your Groom in Mind
Choosing a gorgeous engagement ring for your partner is not just about selecting something that looks amazing. In fact, it is far more important to look for a ring that reflects their personality and style.
After all, they will be wearing it for the rest of their life so you want it to stand the test of time! Choosing a ring that personally suits your partner is also a great way of demonstrating how well you know them.
With that in mind, here are a few of our tips for selecting an engagement ring that suits your partner's personal style.
Take a Look at The Jewelry They Already Own
Looking at your partner's jewelry can give you a great idea of the styles that they like. After all, these are usually items that they have chosen for themselves so they are a good indicator of their taste.
You can check your partner's jewelry preferences by looking at their collection. However, it is also a good idea to look at recent pictures that you have of them wearing their jewelry. This will tell you a lot about which pieces are their favorite and what they will have to pair their ring with every day.
When looking at your partner's jewelry, you should make a note of:
- The colors that they like to wear
- Any materials that they wear a lot
- Whether or not they choose simple designs or statement pieces
- The width of any rings that they already wear
- Any symbols or gemstones that mean a lot of them
- Whether they opt for modern designs or more traditional styles
This can help you narrow down your search when picking out an engagement ring. For example, if they predominantly wear silver jewelry you know to avoid anything in the gold family.
Consider Engraving Their Engagement Ring
No matter the specific style of ring that you choose, an engraving can make it extra personal. Depending on the style of ring you want to go for, you can do this on the outside or inside of the band.
Some popular engagement ring engravings include:
- Both of your initials
- The date that you met or of your anniversary
- The date that you got engaged
- The coordinates of the place that you met
- Couple's nicknames for one another
- A phrase that you often say to one another
- A simple 'I love you', 'Always', or 'Forever'
- Infinity symbols
- A quote from their favorite book, song, film, or poem
Choosing something that is unique to your partner, is a great way to immediately make your engagement ring more personal. This also will not massively increase the cost of your engagement ring.
Some jewelers will offer an engraving service when you buy your engagement ring. However, you can also buy your ring and then get it engraved elsewhere. Before you do this, it is a good idea to make sure the ring fits your partner (we'll share some tips on this later!)
Ask About Family Heirlooms
If you are planning on proposing, you may have mentioned this to your partner's parents, siblings, or loved ones. It is a good idea to only mention this to a select number of people to ensure it does not spoil the surprise!
However, this is a good opportunity to ask about any family heirlooms that might influence your ring design. For example, let's say your partner's grandparent had a ring they were particularly fond of. You could style their engagement ring on this design, using similar colors and gemstones.
It can also help get second opinions from your partner's loved ones if you have to choose from a few ring designs. However, be careful when you do this.
Make sure you feel confident in your choices and only speak to people whose opinions you trust. Criticism that isn't constructive or helpful could make the whole process a lot more complicated.
Think About Coordinating
If you are getting engaged you might be thinking about getting an engagement ring for yourself as well. In that case, it is worth considering whether you want your rings to be coordinated or not.
Generally, wedding bands are made to match, which symbolizes the togetherness of a couple. However, this doesn't have to be the case with engagement rings.
If you do want to coordinate your rings, you could do this subtly by choosing matching materials or color schemes. Or you could go for very different ring designs with matching engravings.
Of course, if you and your partner have very different styles then there's nothing wrong with finding rings that suit your personal look. After all, it is nice to acknowledge the differences in your relationship as well as the similarities!
Choose Stones or Materials That Are Personal to Them
The materials and gemstones that you choose for your partner's engagement ring will have a big impact on its design. So it is important to think about how these coordinate with your partner's personal style preferences.
However, you can also choose certain materials for their symbolic qualities. Gemstones in particular have a lot of symbolic meaning that can help to give your engagement ring a more personal edge. For example, you could choose a gemstone based on your partner's birthstone.
If you are interested in the symbolic meanings of gemstones then apatite might be worth a look. This stone is all about communication and promotes blending old and new life. So it perfectly reflects the act of moving forward in life together.
Or if you and your partner want to have a family one day, emeralds are symbolic of new beginnings and fertility! In fact, you will be hard pushed to find a gemstone that doesn't have a positive meaning. However, doing a little digging can help you to find one that really symbolizes your relationship with your partner and everything you want to bring to it.
Not sure which materials you should choose for your partner's engagement ring? Let's take a closer look at your options.
Materials That Make Up an Engagement Ring
There are two main components to any engagement ring:
- The materials for the ring band itself
- Any decorative materials you want to include
Bands can be molded into different shapes or you can use engravings to create a unique design. Meanwhile, wedding bands tend to keep it simpler with a single, straight band design.
If you want to create something more extravagant then you can embellish your design using gemstones and other materials. This is a great way of adding some texture and color to your ring design if it suits your partner's style.
The materials you choose can determine the look of your engagement ring and usually affect how much it costs. With that in mind, here are some of the most popular materials used in men's engagement rings.
Precious metals are perhaps the most traditional materials you can use for a ring band and there is a reason that these have been around for so long. They usually come with a high price tag but will really stand the test of time.
There's a reason that gold is still such a popular choice for engagement and wedding rings. Its rich color complements a lot of traditional gemstones and it will not dull or lose its shine.
Depending on your partner's personal style you can get gold rings in a variety of colors. Yellow gold is the most traditional, while white gold, which was first created to imitate platinum, is slightly paler in tone. Rose gold has become increasingly popular in recent years and offers a rich, slightly bronzer appearance.
Due to its "soft" nature, gold is the easiest material to resize as well. That said its softness does also mean that gold can scratch easily. So you need to look after it properly.
Scratched or not though a gold ring will hold its value over the years so it is a great investment if you have the budget to play with. If you are working with a tighter budget, you might want to consider gold plating. However, this can wear away over time so you may have to get your rings replated at some point in the future.
Silver rings have become slightly less popular in recent years, in favor of gold and platinum. However, they are still a great choice for engagement rings for men.
Their natural silver shine perfectly compliments white and blue gemstones in particular. Or you can pair them with darker materials, such as ceramics for an edgier design.
It is worth noting that silver is also a soft metal, like gold, and this means it does require proper care to maintain it properly. After a few decades, it will start to show its age more and this is reflected in the price. If you have a bigger budget, you might want to opt for a more durable hard metal or white gold instead.
When it comes to precious materials, platinum is by far the strongest and most durable. This is probably why it has overtaken silver in popularity in recent years.
Its natural silver shine replicates the appearance of silver without wearing down over time. All you will need to do is get your ring professionally polished from time to time to restore its natural appearance.
However, because of this, buying a platinum ring is a real investment. These are by far the most expensive precious metal rings you can buy.
Modern Metal Rings
A lot of these modern metals have actually been around for years. However, their use in engagement and wedding ring bands has only become popular in recent years.
A lot of these metals offer similar aesthetic qualities to and benefits of precious metals, such as durability. However, they are easy to pair with more modern design features, such as inlays of gemstones, carbon fiber, or precious metals. This means that you can use them to create a modern twist on classic designs.
Cobalt, steel, and tantalum are all good options for engagement rings, particularly if you are working with a tight budget. However, there are two types of metal that are extremely popular in modern engagement ring manufacture: titanium and tungsten.
You will probably be familiar with the name titanium even if you have not heard of it being used in jewelry design before. This silver metal is the hardest that you'll find in nature and this means that, although it is lightweight, it is also incredibly durable.
Its hard quality can make it difficult to resize, which means you will need to be confident in your partner's ring size. However, unlike gold or silver, it is fairly resistant to scratching.
On top of this, titanium's price tag is much cheaper than that of a precious metal. So this is a great choice if you are working with a tight budget.
When it comes to strength, you cannot do any better than man-made tungsten engagement rings. This material has been designed with durability in mind!
Tungsten's density and weight make it an ideal material for statement engagement rings. It usually comes in silver but it is possible to mix it with other materials to find the exact color you are looking for.
In the last few hundred years, metals have become the most popular choice for engagement and wedding bands. However, this wasn't always the case in the past.
In fact, traditionally it was very expensive to get rings cast from precious metals. Because of this, people from less wealthy backgrounds would fashion rings out of wood, clay, dried grass reeds, or even cloth.
While those rings might not have been very durable, modern technology means that it is now possible to fashion engagement rings out of more unique materials. Here are some of the most popular options available today.
Ceramic rings are made using extremely hard clay and are often treated to make them as durable as possible. However, perhaps the most impressive aspects of ceramic rings are their versatility and stunning finish.
You can select a wider range of colors and even patterns in ceramic rings, so you can create something truly unique. Once baked and treated, your engagement ring will retain its stunning glossy finish for years to come with minimal maintenance.
Compared to metal rings, ceramic rings are a lot cheaper. However, once made they are impossible to resize, so make sure you measure your partner's ring finger carefully.
Wooden rings are perfect for a natural look and withstand the tests of time surprisingly well. There are two main ways that you can ensure a wooden ring lasts:
- Make sure the wood is properly treated to protect it from daily wear
- Inlay a wooden design on a metal band
A metal band will prevent the wood on the inside of your ring from wearing away. However, entirely wooden rings can look particularly striking especially if you engrave them.
Meteorite, Antler, and Bone Rings
If you're looking to use natural materials that are a bit more interesting than metal then you should definitely check out meteorite, antler, or bone rings. These rings can give your ring a unique look and backstory.
For example, you could use an antler bone that has been found near your partner's family home. Or if your partner is really into science then they'll find a meteorite ring very cool!
When looking at these rings, make sure you check whether the materials you're using need reinforcing. Metal reinforcements can drive the price of a ring up but they'll ensure that your engagement ring stands the test of time.
Silicone rings offer a unique look and practicality compared to other traditional engagement rings. These are available in a huge range of colors and you can still get a message engraved on the band.
These are extremely popular with men who have practically based jobs, such as construction, as they are virtually indestructible. Or you might want to get a backup silicone ring to wear on vacation or in the gym!
Silicone rings also offer a super sleek and modern design. This is a great option if your partner likes unique jewelry or doesn't wear a lot of metal-based jewelry.
Embellishing Your Engagement Band
Once you have decided the material you want to use for the band of your ring, you can start thinking about embellishments.
The most popular way to embellish an engagement ring is with gemstones and diamonds. When setting these you have two options: to set the ring above the band or within the band.
In men's rings, it is more common to set the gemstone within the band itself. Of course, this depends little on the band material that you have chosen.
Setting gemstones within the ring band makes them a part of the overall design rather than the focal point. You can still center engraving around the gemstones to draw attention to them. Or you can use them to add color to an engraved design.
If gemstones aren't really up your partner's street then you might want to think about inlaying another material, such as wood or carbon fiber. This is a great way to create a unique, textured design that is still subtle.
Adding gemstones or other embellishments to your ring can, of course, increase its price. Diamonds, in particular, will significantly increase the cost of an engagement ring. So it is worth thinking about this before you start shopping, which brings us nicely onto our next point.
Keep Your Budget in Mind
While shopping for your partner's engagement ring, it is worth keeping your budget in mind. This will determine the type of materials and specific design features that you can choose for their ring.
While there is no set figure that you have to spend on an engagement ring, in 2020 the average cost of an engagement ring was $3,756. That said, a lot of couples will spend much less than this on their wedding and engagement rings.
If you are working with a tighter budget, there are plenty of things you can do to keep the cost of your engagement ring down. This includes:
- Avoiding popular jewelry brands (as they can charge more off the back of their reputation)
- Limiting your design to on central gemstone or a series of smaller stones
- Opting for modern metals over precious metals
- Reducing the amount of engraving on your ring design
- Choosing engraving or twisted designs over expensive gemstones
- Shopping online to find great deals on quality rings
- Looking for antique, second-hand rings rather than buying new
- Choosing which of the Four C's you want to prioritize if you are determined to use diamonds
- Shopping in person at the end of the week to see if you can secure a deal in-store
These tips will ensure that you find the perfect ring for your partner without breaking the bank or compromising on quality!
Traditional Vs. Modern Ring Designs
When it comes to choosing a ring design, there is a lot of choice out there. This means that you are certain to find something that will suit your partner. However, it can mean searching for the perfect ring feels overwhelming.
To help narrow down your choice, try to decide whether you are looking for a traditional ring design or if you want something modern. This is where looking at the jewelry your partner has and their overall fashion scene can help!
If they're a fan of large statement pieces, a traditional ring with gemstones might be more up their street. Or if their jewelry collection is more minimalist then it's a good idea to check out more modern options.
Traditional engagement rings tend to center around a single large gemstone design and often use gold bands. There's a reason why they are still so popular after all these years!
As we mentioned earlier, most men's rings won't feature a gemstone above the band. Instead, more traditional designs will inlay a larger stone in the center of the band itself. This is designed to be worn at the front of the band, so the stone is on display. If your partner likes quite flashy jewelry or a bit of bling then this is a great choice for them.
However, if you think a more modern style would be up their street then a band featuring an inlay is a great way to go. Usually, these inlays run the whole way around the ring band, creating a two-tonal effect.
You don't have to keep a band engagement ring plain and simple either. For something more unique, why not check out rings that your twists, patterns, and engraving to create sleek yet eye-catching shapes. This is a great way to find something that is edgy but understated.
Check Out Different Color Schemes
One of the best things about shopping for engagement rings now is the amount of choice you have. Your color scheme options are no longer limited to silver and gold metallic hues. If you are looking for something a little different or with a modern twist then checking out different colored bands is a great place to start.
For example, if your partner doesn't wear a lot of bright colors then it might be worth taking a look at gothic-inspired rings. These offer darker bands and edgy designs for something a little different. You may also be able to find rings that come in a matte finish for something cool and ultra-modern.
Or if bright colors are your partner's thing, you should look at rings that featured colored inlays. Natural stones can provide an injection of color but for something more eye-catching you can look for a carbon fiber inlay instead. These are available in a whole range of colors to suit your partner's personal style.
Keep Your Wedding Band Design in Mind
Of course, your engagement rings are not the only things you will end up wearing on a regular basis. On their wedding days, most couples exchange wedding bands. Some couples choose to wear these with their engagement rings while others stick to their single wedding band after the big day.
If you are planning on wearing your wedding bands alongside your engagement rings, it is worth keeping this in mind. After all, you want both bands to look nice alongside one another.
Most people's wedding bands are fairly simple and consist of a single band in gold or silver. Even if you are going for a more lavish design, matching materials across both rings will ensure that they look great alongside one another.
For example, if both your engagement rings and wedding bands are going to be made using gold, you want to make sure this is the same tone. A yellow gold engagement ring will certainly clash with a white gold or rose gold wedding band.
The chances are that you and your partner will want to pick out your wedding bands together. So you do not have to make a final choice when picking an engagement ring.
However, it is important to be aware that the engagement ring you choose might dictate your options for wedding bands. So keep this in mind when you are shopping.
Getting Advice From People With Experience
While you do not want to announce your proposal plans to the whole world before your engagement, it is okay to ask for a bit of help from people that you trust.
We've already mentioned asking your partner's close friends or family for their opinions on a ring. However, it can also help to speak to people that you know who have already bought engagement rings. Ideally, these will be people that your partner doesn't know well so they won't let the cat out of the bag.
This is a good opportunity to find out:
- Things they wish they'd known about when they were engagement ring shopping
- Tips for measuring ring sizes accurately
- Recommendations for jewelers
If you don't feel comfortable asking someone that you know then you can also have a look online. This is a great place to find tips and tricks from people who have real experience.
You can also go online to find great engagement ring design inspiration. Seeing other designs can really help you to narrow down what you do like and what you want to avoid. So you have an idea of what you're looking for when you start shopping.
Of course, if you share a computer with your partner, make sure you delete any browsing history once you have done this. Or just carry out research on your phone. You don't want to spoil the surprise for your partner by leaving the webpage open!
Choosing a Ring Width
Even though the width of an engagement ring can have a huge impact on its overall look, this is something that a lot of people overlook. So make sure you keep this in mind when picking out an engagement ring for your partner.
Generally, men's engagement rings will be between 4 mm and 8 mm wide. This might not sound like a huge difference, but it can affect the style of a ring a lot.
For example, 4 mm rings tend to be more subtle and some designs can be quite dainty. This can be a good option if your partner likes to keep their jewelry understated. In comparison, an 8 mm band will look a lot bolder and can suit statement designs.
When choosing the right ring width for your partner, there are two things you should keep in mind. As well as their personal style, you need to think about the size of their hands and the ring design that you are looking for.
Choosing a Ring Width to Suit Your Partner's Hands
If your partner has quite big hands, then a thin ring band can look a little out of place on them. In that case, it is a good idea to choose a 6 mm or 8 mm ring.
However, an 8 mm ring band will be too overbearing on smaller hands, particularly if your partner has slim fingers. In that case, a 4 mm band is a better choice. If you are not sure what will suit your partner best, then you can play it safe by choosing a 6 mm band.
Choosing a Ring Width to Accommodate Your Design
The width of your band can also dictate your other design elements. For example, if you want to inlay a gemstone, this will need to be bigger for an 8 mm ring. In contrast, engravings will have to be smaller in order to fit on a 4 mm ring band.
So it is worth keeping this in mind when picking your ring width. You don't want the ring width to compromise your overall design.
Finding the Right Fit and Size
Last but by no means least, you want the ring that you buy to fit your partner as well as possible. It is quite common for people to buy rings that are a little too big or too small and you can usually get these resized at a jewelers. However, you can save yourself a lot of time and trouble by carefully gauging your partner's ring measurements.
If you are planning on buying a ceramic, tungsten, or wooden ring this is especially important. These materials are very difficult to resize so you want to get them spot on the first time around.
When it comes to the fit of an engagement ring, you have two options to choose from: standard fits or comfort fits.
A standard ring fit means that the inside of the engagement ring sits totally flat against the finger. This fit can be slightly cheaper to make. However, a standard fit ring can be difficult to get on and off and it may slide around more on your partner's finger.
Most engagement rings nowadays are made as comfort fits. These rings have a slightly domed interior and this makes them easier to slide on and off over the knuckles. They are also more likely to stay put on your partner's finger.
Sizing Engagement Rings for Men
Sizing a ring subtly can be very difficult to do. If your partner already has a ring that fits them well you can measure this to find out their ring size.
A lot of jewelers offer cheap or free ring sizing guides that you can use at home. Or there are several ring sizing apps that you can use. If you want to be really sneaky then you could even measure your partner's finger using a piece of string while they're asleep.
If you are planning to get a ring made from gold, silver, or platinum then getting the perfect ring size is not essential. However, if you are looking for a ring made from harder materials then you want to get this perfect the first time around.
Find the Best Engagement Ring for Your Partner Today
As you can see, when it comes to choosing men's engagement rings the world really is your oyster. There are a lot of things you need to consider when picking a ring.
However, the great variety of ring designs and materials out there means that you are sure to find an engagement ring to suit your partner. The most important thing to keep in mind when looking for engagement rings for men is your partner's personal style. Giving your ring a personal edge is the perfect way to show your partner how much you care about them.
Ready to start looking for men's engagement rings? Then check out our selection of band engagement rings today — you won't be disappointed!