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The big day: New design twists for the trip down the aisle

By Jacquie De Almeida

    

Bridal jewellery tends to be one of those categories you can take to the bank. Regardless of the season or economic landscape, people will always get married and need symbols of their love fashioned from precious stones and metals to do it. The world of jewellery is continually in flux, and the bridal category is no exception. From couples going Dutch to the ‘man-gagement’ ring, here are a few trends to keep an eye on for 2014.

The ‘man-gagement’ ring

It seems a growing number of men are willing to let the woman “put a ring on it.” According to Engagement 101’s 2013 Just-Engaged couple survey, 71 per cent of men “would be open to wearing an engagement ring for guys, called a man-gagement ring.” While it’s true this trend may not yet be taking off like gangbusters, there’s something to be said for equality. Why shouldn’t men wear pre-wedding day jewellery that tells the world they’re taken, just as a woman does? In some South American countries, man-gagement rings are the norm. Canadian singer Michael Bublé proudly showed off his ring after popping the question to Argentine actress Luisana Loreley Lopilato de la Torre.

Just a few years ago, a similar survey reported 17 per cent of men would consider sporting an engagement ring, notes Amanda Gizzi, spokesperson for Jewelry Information Center (JIC). She agrees the concept of equality in a relationship seems to be the drawing card for most couples.

“People like the idea that the engagement period is meant to be acknowledged by both parties in a relationship,” Gizzi explains. “A ring is always given to the woman and that’s the way it’s always been done. But once people start to become aware of something new or different, they are open to it. High-profile men like Michael Bublé doing this makes a big difference in how quickly the trend takes off”¦ I think it’s just a matter of time before we see man-gagement rings become more prevalent.”

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Where some men will wear a man-gagement ring on their right hand and move it over to their left once married, others buy an entirely different ring to be worn as a wedding band. Gizzi says she’s even heard of some men getting a second, thinner band to wear next to the man-gagement ring, although she admits that’s very rare.

With more and more couples these days shopping for an engagement ring together, a retailer has the perfect opportunity to bring up the topic of a little pre-wedding bling for the groom-to-be.

“It all comes down to education,” Gizzi explains. “Without it, man-gagement rings are a foreign concept. As people start to share it with their friends, it will take off a little bit faster.”

Of course, if the woman pops the question, a man-gagement ring is a no-brainer.

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