Article by Brittany Stack – appeared in SMH 6/6/2010
ANOTHER bridge has been built across the gender divide, with “men-gagement” rings an emerging trend in the world of weddings.
No longer is a proposal all about the bride-to-be’s rock: Men are getting their own symbol of the moment.
Women are also breaking tradition by proposing to unsuspecting partners, or surprising their fiances with engagement rings after accepting a proposal themselves, jewellery designers and relationship experts say.
Relationships Australia psychologist Gail Westcott said 30-somethings were the ones who were most likely to blur the gender roles.
“Possibly women aren’t willing to wait, or men and women have a far more equal relationship than 10 or 20 years ago and are initiating a change to the commitment,” Ms West said.
“And often – for men as well as for women – a ring is the symbolic way of recognising that commitment.
“More women now have the income to buy a ring or a symbolic item and I think we’ll see a lot more of this.”
Preferred men-gagement ring styles include a more masculine wide, flat band in a satin or matte finish, with square or rectangular (and even black) diamonds with an angular, edgy shape.
Celebrant Kerryn Tippett has noted more 20- and 30-something men with men-gagement rings.
“The younger generation of men has grown up with jewellery, have always worn, say, a surf ring and are interested in an engagement ring,” she said. “And that comforting feeling, knowing their man is wearing a ring, makes a woman feel better.”
When Melissa Lozanovski accepted fiance Vas Kalyvas’ proposal last July, she was determined that she’d return the gesture.
The North Sydney lawyer, 27, spent five months designing an engagement ring for Mr Kalyvas, 29.
“It was such an elaborate proposal and Vas went to so much trouble to design the ring,” Ms Lozanovski, who plans to marry Mr Kalyvas next April, said.”I wanted to give something special back to him, so I designed a platinum and diamond engagement ring based on his personality.
“We had the rings blessed in a traditional Orthodox ceremony at our engagement party, and then I gave it to him … it was nice for me to present him with something so special.
“And now we both have something meaningful we can wear together.”sBut relationships expert John Aiken said women considering popping the question need to gauge their partners’ opinion of marriage before pushing tradition aside.
“Are they a traditional person and do they want to take the lead, or are they someone that’s pretty open minded and happy to do things differently,” he said.
“People are waiting a little longer now before they get married, they’re further along in their stage of life, so they might want to take the bull by the horns … and ask the guy.
“The times are changing and people are keen to meet that special someone and, for a group of people, when they find that person, they don’t want to hold back.”
“If you are someone who is thinking about proposing to the guy, make sure you are aware of your intentions.”