Why Are Men’s Wedding Rings So Plain?

Are you getting engaged? Shopping for wedding rings? You may wonder why men’s wedding rings are always so plain when women’s rings are clustered with diamonds in elaborate settings. 

Men’s wedding rings are so plain because of gender stereotypes. Colorful, glittering accessories are traditionally associated with femininity. Men who wear such accessories are not considered ‘manly’ and are therefore devalued. A man who wears feminine accessories is often ridiculed socially. 

This article will list the 2 main reasons men’s wedding rings are so plain. It will also detail the history of men’s wedding rings and discuss the materials and styles available today. 

2 Reasons Men Wear Plain Wedding Rings

There are several reasons men’s wedding rings are so plain, but all of them can be linked to gender stereotypes. Men and women have had to fulfill certain positions throughout history. This has shaped how society views femininity and masculinity. 

Things have been changing in recent centuries, but gender stereotypes still exist and are perpetuated by social standards today. 

Gender Stereotypes

The division of genders is defined by many factors, including (but not limited to) appearance, clothing, behavior, and adornments. In short, men are supposed to look, dress, behave and accessorize in specific ways to be perceived as masculine. 

In a patriarchal society, if a man fails to conform to those expectations, he can experience rejection, isolation, and in extreme cases, even violence. This is misogyny: a dislike of or contempt for women and femininity. 

Jewelry, in particular, has been associated with femininity for thousands of years. The prevalence of misogyny means that a man wearing fancy jewelry might be seen as having feminine traits. His masculinity could therefore be called into question, and (depending upon the values of those he surrounds himself) his social value could decrease. He could be mocked by other men and lose their respect. 

This is one reason why men’s jewelry items, including wedding rings, are so often plain.

Hard Labor

The jobs men do (and have done for hundreds of years) are another significant factor in shaping gender stereotypes and limiting the styles of men’s wedding rings. Men’s jobs have historically required physical strength and working with their hands.  

To be specific, it was typical for working-class men to have grueling, dirty, laborious jobs until recently in human history. Those jobs made wearing and maintaining jewelry almost impossible. Examples include being a hunter, a builder, a soldier, a miner, a farmer, a blacksmith, a mechanic, etc. These jobs meant clothing and accessories were easily damaged, especially delicate jewelry. 

Although many working-class men today don’t do manual labor, simple, sturdy wedding rings are still the norm because gender stereotypes still exist. Men’s rings are made of materials like titanium and tungsten to make them as durable and practical as possible. This also means men’s wedding rings are less expensive and, therefore, easier to replace when damaged. 

The History of Men’s Wedding Rings

Wedding rings were initially worn only by women. Men gave their wives these rings to let other men know they were ‘taken.’ 

It is believed that wedding bands were first used by the Ancient Egyptians in 4000 BC. The rings were worn on the left-hand ring finger to represent devotion to the marital bond. Ancient Egyptians chose the ring because it was a symbol that represented eternity and never-ending devotion. The Egyptians initially used rings made of bone, braided reeds, leather, or other materials. Gold and silver rings came later. 

The Romans also adopted wedding bands, but they made iron rings and engraved them. They also developed the first engagement rings, initially signet rings used by wealthy men, with identifying symbols or family crests engraved in them. 

Wedding rings were adopted by Christians in Europe during the Middle Ages. Still, they simplified the rings to basic gold or silver bands that became the traditional wedding bands used today. 

Men’s wedding bands became a tradition about a hundred years ago, starting in the US when men began wearing them to war. The wedding bands helped remind them of their wives and families, representing what they were fighting for and what they would return home to. The tradition of wedding bands was only adopted worldwide in the last few centuries as western culture became more prevalent. 

Men’s Wedding Rings Today

Luckily, changes in society mean men’s jewelry is on the rise. The new generations of young men are much more willing to break gender stereotypes and defy misogyny. As a result, men’s wedding bands are being made in increasingly elaborate and varied styles. They’re still much simpler and less flashy than women’s rings, but progress is certainly being made!

Although the following is not an exhaustive list of materials and styles of men’s wedding rings, it does represent a good overall picture of the types of rings readily available for men. Whether the man in question is traditional, progressive, masculine, or effeminate, he will find a ring that suits his particular style and personality. 


Common materials for men’s wedding rings are no longer limited to gold, silver, and platinum! Nowadays, countless jewelers make men’s wedding rings of every possible material, from the traditional to the truly unique. In fact, it’s easy to find rings made of such unusual materials as tungsten, zirconium, wood, antler, ceramic, or even silicone! 

Below you’ll find a list of some of the most readily available and exciting materials for men’s wedding rings.

Gold and Silver

The classic gold and silver wedding bands are still readily available despite the explosion in men’s wedding ring styles. Gold rings come in yellow, white, and rose gold or in combinations of two or more colors. 

These choices are good for someone who appreciates quality and classic style with a little flash. However, silver and gold are not the most rugged of ring materials. They bend and scratch easily and will be ideal for men who work heavily with their hands. 


Platinum, which looks similar to silver and white gold, is a harder material that still has the classic shine. This is a good choice for men who like bright, shiny jewelry but need something more durable. 

In addition, platinum doesn’t fade and won’t tarnish or become corroded. It’s also hypoallergenic. Lastly, this material is thirty times rarer than gold, making it unique and uncommon.


Tungsten is one of the most popular alternative metals for men’s wedding rings. It is naturally gray but comes in plated varieties like black and multi-color. Tungsten is one of the hardest, most durable, and scratch-resistant materials. That makes it great for men who do heavy-duty work with their hands. It also doesn’t tarnish and doesn’t need to be re-polished to keep its excellent shine. 

However, tungsten does have some drawbacks. One is that it can’t be resized if the wearer gains or loses weight. In addition, while it is incredibly durable, it’s not unbreakable and will crack under extreme pressure. It’s also not the best for electricians because it’s a good conductor. 

Finally, black and colored tungsten is quite popular, but the color can wear off and eventually need replating. 


Zirconium is another durable alternative metal like tungsten. However, it isn’t a naturally occurring one. Zirconium is a cheaply produced metal that comes in gray or black with handsome matte, brushed, hammered, or glossy finishes. 

Zirconium doesn’t tarnish, fade, or discolor–ever! It is one of the only metals that come in black that isn’t plated and, therefore, subject to fading and chipping. It is highly resistant to corrosion as well. Plus, it’s easy to shape and comes in various styles. 

Finally, it is one of the most affordable materials available for wedding rings. 

The drawbacks of zirconium are few but significant. One is that, like tungsten, it cannot be resized. Another is that, although it’s not as easy to scratch as silver or gold, it can be scratched. Deep scratches may allow the gray metal to show through underneath if you have a black zirconium ring. 


Titanium is another material of incredible durability, similar to tungsten and zirconium. However, it has a more expensive look, similar to silver or white gold, without a high price tag. It is incredibly lightweight and hypoallergenic as well. 

In addition, titanium doesn’t tarnish, corrode, or discolor. It also comes in various colors, but as with other plated metals, the color can wear off over time.   

Like other tungsten and zirconium, titanium cannot be resized. It’s also not easy to work with for jewelers, so it only comes in very basic styles. Lastly, although it is incredibly strong and will never chip or crack, it is subject to scratching. It will need to be polished by a jeweler who works with titanium.  

Other Materials

If none of the above materials appeal to you, fear not! There are countless more possibilities from which to choose, including both natural and artificial options. I’ve listed some of the more popular and readily available ones below. A simple internet search for men’s wedding bands will bring a flood of stylish variations. 

  • Stainless steel
  • Damascus Steel
  • Palladium
  • Chrome
  • Cobalt Chrome
  • Carbon Fiber
  • Ceramic 
  • Wood
  • Bone 
  • Antler
  • Resin 
  • Silicone

Stones and Other Materials

Hundreds of different stones and other unusual materials can be inlaid into wedding rings. Below is a list of common materials used to add details and interest to rings made of various base metals. However, custom-made rings are so readily available that you can make just about anything happen, even if it isn’t on this list!

Precious Stones

When it comes to wedding rings, no stone is more classic than a diamond. While small embedded diamonds have not precisely been rare, even in men’s rings, styles are changing. Diamonds are getting larger and more numerous. Whether white, yellow, black, or blue, set in simple rows or elaborate engravings, men’s diamond wedding rings are easy to find.

Other precious stones include ruby, emerald, sapphire, and alexandrite, all of which (and more) can be found in men’s wedding rings. These choices may appeal to men with an extra flair of style and appreciation of color and rarity in gems. 

However, as the name suggests, precious stones are rare and often come with a hefty price tag!

Semi-Precious Stones and Other Natural Materials

There are so many semi-precious stones to choose from that it would be impossible to list them all here! Popular choices for men’s wedding rings include turquoise, onyx, meteorite, lapis lazuli, coral, abalone shell, and opal. These materials are usually done in solid glossy inlays or cabochons. 

Stones like turquoise and lapis lazuli bring an unusual and eye-catching pop of color. Precious and semi-precious stones are sometimes inlaid beside polished wood, antler, fossils, and other seashells. 

Abalone and coral are colorful options for men who love the ocean. Opal inlays and meteorite fragments lend glittering texture or swirls of color that mimic galaxies, appealing to those who love space and the stars. Dinosaur bones are another exciting addition that might appeal to men interested in fossils or archeology. 

Whatever the man’s style in question, there’s a stone out there that will tickle his fancy!


Common styles of men’s wedding rings include classic unadorned bands, hammered, faceted, and otherwise textured metal, vintage style engravings, Celtic patterns, and more. Mokume is another unique style of increasing popularity. It originated in Japan and looks similar to wood grain on metal.

However, if you are still looking for a style that suits you, custom rings are also widely available and very popular. You can have a ring engraved with words or patterns, inlaid with whatever stones you choose, etc. 


Hundreds of years of patriarchy have established strong gender norms and pervasive misogyny in modern society. Unfortunately, as a result, men are still socially and culturally expected to behave and appear in specific ways. That means working traditional masculine jobs that require hard labor and getting dirty. It also means that wearing flashy jewelry is considered feminine behavior. For these reasons, men’s wedding rings are traditionally very plain. 

However, society is changing with new generations. Adherence to gender norms is relaxing, and men’s wedding ring styles are becoming more elaborate.

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