It is not just women who are fond of jewellery, men too love flaunt jewellery, though the choice of variety may not be as wide as what the women have. Men mostly prefer wearing latest ring designs, and this has traditionally been a practice from time immemorial. Hieroglyphics found in ancient ruins in Egypt show that men and women wore rings, as the never ending circle denoted eternity, and probably promised the couple everlasting bliss.
While the earlier rings were either carved from bones of animals or from hollow wood, over a period of time, the art of making rings evolved into a sophisticated display of skill by artisans. From carrying symbolic value, the ring became a possession that had intrinsic as well as sentimental value. The crudely cut bones and wood were replaced by malleable metal like iron, and silver and gold at a later stage.
Although silver was used to make rings, it was gold that stole the show for a long period of time. There were plain gold rings, wedding bands with a convex finish, wedding rings embedded with precious stones like diamonds and rubies (depending on the family tradition). Most family traditions were religiously practised lest misfortune should befall the family. Gold is used extensively to make jewellery, especially wedding jewellery even today.
Historically, the royalty has always worn a wedding ring as part of fulfilling matrimonial vows. However, the absence of the wedding ring created a mild flutter when Prince William of Britain chose not to wear one. This was not very surprising as even the Duke of Edinburgh preferred not to wear a wedding ring. However, Prince Charles made it a point to wear the all important wedding ring on his left hand, where he already had a signet ring on his little finger.
Brides wearing wedding rings was a very ancient tradition that even had superstitious undertones. In ancient Egypt, brides were expected to wear a wedding ring lest misfortune befall the husband away fighting a battle. There are no records showing that the men too had to wear rings. Of course, given that most of the men belonging to royalty had to be at war constantly, a ring may have been more than a hindrance during a crucial fight. However, a small percentage of the men engaged in other less active professions started wearing rings, which ultimately became a tradition.
Origin of Tungsten
It was only about 200 years after tungsten was discovered that it was put to use. Given its characteristic of being resistant to heat it was perfect for making filaments that were crucial for an electric bulb. Tungsten was drawn into a wire that was coiled to form a filament. This was sometime in the early 20th century. Over the years, the process of extracting tungsten has undergone several changes, and today it is used in making jewellery. Though not as lustrous or expensive as gold, the metal was found to be the perfect for making jewellery, especially women’s and men’s rings. The first tungsten rings were probably made in the early 20th century.
It was in the recent past that a hard and malleable metal known as tungsten started becoming extremely popular. This led to a rush for tungsten rings, especially for men who wanted to sport something new and macho. Men started opting for custom tungsten rings as they believed this would give out strong messages to the women they were courting. Most men believe that they can easily attract women by sporting engraved tungsten rings. Some people particularly ask for skull design rings just to convey themselves as being macho and unique.
It is not just wedding rings that men yearn to wear; there is a class of macho young men who like to flaunt their allegiance to some specific class or association. Hence class rings or rings with specific emblems carved on the surface are quite popular. It is no longer considered feminine to wear rings, and jewellers often stock masculine, feminine as well as what they call gender-neutral rings that can be worn by men or women. Men do not prefer flashy rings, or rings that look a bit feminine. That’s probably one reason why rings with emblems and various types of skull rings are preferred. Some of these skull rings have rubies set for the eyes, and are meant to flash hauntingly.
Most of the people belonging to the upper strata of society, especially the men connected to royal families, and the aristocrats in the royal courts of Britain and Europe shunned jewellery. This was probably because jewellery was traditionally associated with women, and men of war did not go around sporting jewellery in the place of swords and daggers. Even wedding rings were worn by women belonging to high society. Although rings do not have any religious significance, they are considered important when it comes to solemnizing a wedding.
While the very first wedding rings were just plain bands, ingenious jewellers and their craftsmen came out with exquisite pieces with engravings and designs that people took a liking to instantly. You now have engraved tungsten rings with intricate and elaborate patterns that are bewitching. While affiliation rings were entirely in the domain of men, family rings too were handed down through generations, with the eldest heir in the family becoming automatically eligible to receive the family heirloom.
Men’s Designer Rings
Family heirlooms need not necessarily be expensive gold or tungsten rings, they could also comprise exotic pieces that your ancestor picked up while on a trip to some far away country. What would have been otherwise dismissed as a cheap trinket got value as a family heirloom. Though tungsten rings are a recent phenomenon, good men’s designer rings in tungsten have the potential of becoming valuable heirlooms sometime in the future.
Jewellers also have decided to pull up their act and change according to circumstances, and artisans are constantly encouraged to experiment on new orders, with specific instructions to experiment with the new metal that became very popular – tungsten. This resulted in a spurt of activity that lead to a flood of tungsten carbide rings which were touch and durable, yet looked exquisite. It was time for men’s rings to evolve from mere ornamental pieces to something more elaborate and special.
Art and design rings made out of tungsten are quite a rage today. Making an important part of a man’s wardrobe, tungsten carbide rings are most sought after by young men. Though men still hesitate to wear a ring without a valid reason, or excuse rather, it is not uncommon to see young men sporting custom tungsten rings that have been created specifically for them. There are rings that match one’s belt buckle and some that match a favourite tie pin.
Fashion conscious men studiously build up a wardrobe in which tungsten rings, especially the exquisitely made men’s designer rings play a very important part. There are not so elaborate rings as well, and even a simple band with an inlaid band or etching can be a fashion statement for some. This should suit people who wish to wear a ring that is not flashy or ominous like skull ring or a ring design with too many stones encrusted.
For men who have never ventured into a jeweller’s on their own, a trip to the jewellers could be slightly intimidating. However, once you are in, the friendly sales person should be able to help you find the perfect ring to slip onto your finger. The things you need to think of would probably include the size (not too big or ostentatious) the design, and of course, the price. If price is not really a concern, going for custom tungsten rings is a great option. Not that custom tungsten rings are terribly expensive, though they are priced slightly higher than the of-the shelf ones.
One can’t expect to walk into a jewellery shop and walk out with a ring on the finger within minutes. No wonder women take ages to decide what they want to buy. You need to take your time to decide because the ring will probably stay right on your finger for a long, long time. Moreover spending a lot of money on jewellery has to be worth it, so choosing the right ring is very important. It all depends on your taste and the company you keep. If you are the macho type, a chunky, expensive piece would certainly not be out of place.
However, if you are the formal type looking for something that you consider needs to appear decent, a plain band with a hint of a pattern is probably what you need to be looking for. There are several such tungsten rings that you can choose from, ones that are not too flashy, yet good enough to match your outfit and get noticed.
Men working in various trades that require them to use their hands to perform tasks such as tinkering with a machine, repairing an engine, and others such as gardeners, mechanics etc run the risk of damaging the rings they happen to be wearing while working. These are the people who look for wedding rings that are made from tougher material than the conventional gold. A blessing in disguise in the form of tungsten rings, in designs of their choice came at the appropriate time.
Custom tungsten rings are the rage today, with most men, especially young men planning to get married soon opting for something out of the ordinary. Jewellers too started experimenting with the new metal that is extremely tough and durable, ranking second in hardness, with the first place still being held by diamond. Artisans came out with exquisite men’s designer rings that were unique and had a tale of their own to tell.
Men normally choose to wear their wedding rings every day, with most never wanting to take off the precious possession under any circumstance. This sentimental attachment to the symbolic wedding ring is there with even the toughest professionals. There are dare-devil rock climbers who would rather risk the ring coming in their way while negotiating a steep cliff than take it off before setting off on a dangerous expedition. Such people always prefer tungsten carbide rings as they are known to be tough and durable and don’t bend or break that easily.
The same is the case with professionals who play football or basketball or participate in surfing competitions. While most people would advise not wearing a wedding ring while playing professional sports or games, some people hesitate removing a wedding ring due to sentimental reasons. This is where tungsten rings come in very handy.
Though rings are normally meant to be worn on the ring finger, it is not uncommon to find rings that suit all the four fingers, as well as the thumb. Of course, one needs to be a Sultan or a Sheik to able to afford that many rings, and have the guts to wear them all at the same time. However, no sane person today would want to go to that extent. A nice, men’s designer ring is what most people would prefer to settle for.
Ultimately, it all boils down to this: men, whether married or not, can and do wear rings of their choice. It is another matter that people prefer tungsten rings to the traditional gold ring. This may be because they want to be different, or because tungsten rings are more affordable, or simply because it is the in thing today. The important thing is that men no longer need an excuse (like getting married) to wear a ring. Moreover, why not get used to the idea of wearing a ring, when one is ultimately going to be blissfully wedded, with the wedding band firmly in position? Men no longer have any inhibitions about dropping into a jeweller’s and slipping out with a ring snugly fit on the finger.