Jewelry shopping can be intimidating. That’s why we started Ask HOLDEN, our blog where we answer your FAQs, break down scary industry lingo, and guide you in finding the perfect piece of jewelry.
In case you missed it, Olympic skier/bad*ss Lindsey Vonn proposed to her hockey player fiancé PK Subban (can you say winter sport power couple?) over Christmas. The two were originally engaged in August when Subban proposed to Vonn with a giant emerald ring, but according to Vonn’s Twitter announcement: “...On our 2 year anniversary, in a ‘non traditional’ move, I asked PK to marry me and he said, Yes ☺️! Women aren’t the only ones who should get engagement rings!” The two are planning to marry in the summer of 2020.
More and more couples are beginning to get behind this stance and opting for both partners to wear engagement rings, regardless of gender: Jennifer Hudson gave her fiancé an engagement ring, and Ed Sheeran and Colton Haynes were both spotted wearing rings before marriage. Men’s engagement rings are something we’re frequently asked about, so we figured we’d explore the history of engagement rings (we love a good history lesson) and talk more about why we love people of all genders choosing to wear engagement rings!
The tradition of wedding rings stems all the way back to Ancient Greece, where rings symbolizing eternity were worn to demonstrate commitment. Engagement rings first appeared in Ancient Rome, where women wore rings attached to keys. Engagement and wedding rings were (and still are!) typically worn on the fourth finger of the left hand, as it was believed that this finger connected to the “vena amoris,” or a vein that ran directly to the heart (cute!!). At this time, rings were worn to symbolize ownership (not cute!!).
In the early twentieth century United States, engagement rings served as a kind of insurance for engaged women. If her fiancé backed out of the wedding, leaving her reputation in tatters (ugh), particularly if (gasp) she had engaged in premarital sex and decreased her “market value” (sigh), she would still be able to sell her ring to make ends meet.
Around the 1920s, there was an initial effort on the part of department stores to market engagement rings for men. The rings’ features included diamonds, and the campaign didn’t really take off, as diamonds were associated with femininity in the US.
In some cultures, people of all genders have always worn engagement rings before marriage. Once married, partners either stack the rings, transfer one ring to the other hand, or replace their engagement ring with a wedding ring altogether.
Now, engagement rings are simply a tradition meant to celebrate the promise of love and commitment. So why shouldn’t both partners have the opportunity to tell the outside world that they are excited to be married? Rules designating who is allowed to wear engagement rings aren’t always the most inclusive to LGBTQ couples -- everyone should have the opportunity to celebrate with engagement rings, even if their wedding doesn’t feature a bride at all (or if it features two brides!).
Here at HOLDEN, we are always in support of people choosing to express their love however they’d like without gender dictating how a couple should plan their wedding. We love the idea of anyone wearing an engagement ring! Just make sure you know your/their ring size. And THAT is that!
Looking for some inspiration for engagement rings that work for any gender? Here’s a selection of HOLDEN rings that we think would work perfectly. Not sure what metal to choose? Check out our post on finding the best metal for your ring (we're loving rose gold engagement rings right now, for what it's worth!).
If you’d like to incorporate diamonds into your or your partner’s engagement ring, check out our selection of diamond rings. Questions about lab grown diamonds? Check out our blog post on lab grown diamonds and why we choose to use them at HOLDEN.
Other Spicy Styles
Keeping it Simple
Want to pick something elegant, understated, and classic? We've got rings for you too (our Domed Profile is pictured below).
Any other questions about engagement rings (or anything else, for that matter)? Give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org or a ring at 917.719.3634