Apparently World War II is the catalyst behind the custom of men wearing a wedding ring. The war years tore families apart and in the decades that followed a strong and deep sense of togetherness emerged as the underlying theme in marriages that took place in the 1940s and 1950s. It was that responsibility to publicly display the connection and desire to be seen and recognized as a couple that turned men on to the practice of wearing matching wedding rings with their wives.
So if men didn’t typically wear a wedding band prior to then, what did they do with men’s engagement rings? In actual fact, there was a nudge in the jewelry industry to try to launch the idea in 1926. Huge black and white ads in a print campaign co-sponsored by jewelers and a company known then as L. Bamburger & Company (which later became Macy’s Department Store) tried very hard to plant the seed in the minds of men.
The ads featured a man’s left hand with a cigarette held in the first two fingers and a large, sparkling rock on a ring sitting on the fourth finger. For some reason the idea of a guy wearing an engagement ring, or any kind of ring on their fingers just didn’t break the female connection to the custom.
As marriages changed over the years with women proposing to men and most traditional aspects of the act morphing into the 1970s, things changed in what couples wore to show their love for each other. Even surveys showed there was a household shift taking place and one study showed that sharing domestic responsibilities was what 48-percent of respondents saw in a typical marriage. In 2010 that figure increased to 62-percent. Women were taking more control and responsibility in their lives which also meant in the workforce.
Through these shifts came another resurfacing of the mangagement ring. As is typically what seems to drive trends in modern culture, it was the world of motion pictures and music that shoved the concept of men’s engagement rings back into the front of the line. It was in 2010 when movie star Jennifer Hudson made headlines by responding to the proposal of her boyfriend with an engagement ring and proposal of her own. Canadian musician Michael Buble hit those same front pages when he openly displayed the engagement ring he received from his Latin fiancée. His claim was that it was customary in her homeland and he was just honouring the tradition.
Both did more in pushing the concept of the mangagement ring that Macy’s did back in the 1920s. The difference was clear, in this day and age the time was right for men to wear an engagement ring. Jewelers have jumped into the fold by using macho materials such as gold, platinum and titanium to create magnificent rings specifically to be presented and worn as engagement rings for men. As a result, the trend is become more mainstream as each year passes.