Erin Molan has a bone to pick with engagement rings.

If you wear or have ever worn a sparkly engagement ring on your left hand, have you ever considered why the man you are marrying isn't wearing one too? 

Well, this week Erin Molan had some things to say about the tradition on her 2DayFM radio show with Dave Hughes and Ed Kavalee.

"There's a reason, gentlemen, that it's women who always lose their engagement ring - and do you want to know why that is?" Erin asks Hughesy and Ed.

"Men don't have them... Men don't have engagement rings. Men have to buy them, propose, etc. Some women do, but who cares? All of that aside. It's unfair." 

Watch: Erin Molan talks about engagement rings with Hughesy and Ed on 2Day FM. Post continues below.

Video via Instagram/@erinmolan

Erin says she believes it is unfair because once you are engaged and wearing a ring, it signals your new position as a fiancé. 

"[An engagement ring] says to everyone else in the world that they are taken. So all of a sudden, women go from being able to live our lives with men thinking they're a chance and giving us attention, to suddenly having this big bloody ring that brands us as unavailable!

"Men get to continue their lives for the two to three years that it takes for them to marry the woman - as free agents. 


"They get to walk up and down the hallways of work winking at secretaries they get to go to the bar with colleagues after work and have drinks with women thinking they're available. They get to go to the gym and pump iron, without a ring. 

"Why do we have to wear a big sign that says 'taken, don't try' and our engagement partners also known as our fiancé, get to walk around with nothing?"

While Hughesy jokingly responds with a comment about men doing "dangerous jobs" where a ring might get caught on machinery and rip their poor finger off, Erin makes a good point about the inequality of the deal, specifically relating to heterosexual couples.

According to The American Gem Society, a man presents his chosen bride with a ring that she only accepts if she wants to get married. 

But the historical reason for this exchange has nothing to do with love.

"Anthropologists believe this tradition originated from a Roman custom in which wives wore rings attached to small keys, indicating their husbands’ ownership."

Ownership - that sure makes the gesture seem a little less well, romantic.

Diamond engagement rings increased in popularity during the 'sentimental Victorian' era, but it wasn't until the De Beers marketing campaign launched in 1947 that said 'A Diamond is Forever' that the sparkly diamond engagement ring really embedded into our consciousness.


In a recent article for Refinery 29, married writer Erin Lowry explains the many reasons why she chose not to wear an engagement ring after her husband Peach proposed.

"I had a multitude of reasons why I wanted to opt out: The tradition is based largely on a marketing scheme; a diamond engagement ring is not a piece of jewellery I would normally wear; and frankly, I’d just prefer to put that money toward other financial goals," she writes.

"But if I were being really honest, the biggest reason is that it felt sexist. The fact that I, the woman, was expected to wear a ring that symbolised that I was no longer available while Peach, the man, was free to flaunt a naked finger until our wedding day just didn’t sit right with me." 


Nina*, who has since split from her ex-fiancé, says that to make the engagement more equal, the couple both shopped for and wore an engagement ring.

"When I got engaged, it felt innately wrong for me to be the only one with an engagement ring," she tells Mamamia.

"There was the feminist aspect - why am I the only one being tagged as 'taken'? But also the gift element. We both got engaged, don't we both deserve a gift? So we went and chose a ring for both of us.

"He wore it, but not on the wedding finger because we thought it would look like a wedding ring since no man wears an engagement ring. We weren't quite that progressive!"

Whether or not you like sporting a sparkly engagement ring, it is interesting to consider the reasons men don't wear them and the origins of the tradition itself.

Is it a sign of 'ownership' or simply a romantic piece of jewellery? The decision is yours.

What do you think? Do you like wearing an engagement ring? Does your partner wear one too? Or do you think they are old-fashioned? Tell us in the comments below. 

Laura Jackel is Mamamia's Senior Lifestyle Family Writer. For links to her articles and to see photos of her outfits and kids, follow her on Instagram and TikTok.

Feature Image: Instagram @erin_molan / Canva.

*While this person is known to Mamamia, she has chosen to keep her identity private. 

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