Jewelry has been the unspoken and unwritten way people could signal to the world their caste or class or profession – to show off one’s wealth and status. And it wasn’t just for women. Historically, men wore jewelry – and lots of it. Think about the Maharajas of India or study any royal portrait, which crammed as much wealth into the frame as possible.
Rulers for centuries liked to shower their courtiers with expensive jewelry gifts as symbols of power, and incur their loyalty in turn. During the Renaissance, men’s jewelry was meant for both beauty and functionality – from signet rings that sealed letters to neck chains or a trendy earring. Sir Walter Raleigh (the explorer and spy rumored to be the lover of Queen Elizabeth) and Charles I of England were both known, in particular, for sporting the single earring look.
Men donning oodles of baubles decreased significantly in the Victorian era, when strict rules dictated that jewelry should be worn only for a purpose: a watch, tie pin, gold cigarette case, bespoke dress set… Until lately when, once again, the modern male dress code has evolved. Gone are the days of men only accessorizing with a wedding ring; here are the new days of statement pendants and eye-catching rings. Men today are into a whole new way of expressing their style and status – and they’re using jewelry to communicate.
Living legend Elton John has famously rocked a single earring for decades, and in 2019, Grammy winning singer Harry Styles took a page out of the Renaissance era when he attended the Met Gala sporting a single pearl drop on his right ear.
These days, actors like hunky Jason Momoa and wispy Pete Davidson regularly don jewels to movie premiers and sports events. A bejeweled Pharrell Williams has just graced the cover of the very traditional Town & Country magazine wearing multiple pendants with two large pearl and gold chain necklaces for the ultimate “neck-mess.” And don’t forget about the concealed gem-set “grills” on his teeth! But jewelry on men is not just relegated to the Hollywood set. Eric Adams, the newly elected mayor of NYC, is known to be particularly detail oriented in his dress. While people are familiar with his crisp, white shirts and pocket squares, they also note the constant presence of an “energy stone bracelet” he wears on his right wrist, composed of stones from Asia and Africa that supporters gave him.
As a celebration of men getting back into the jewelry game, I’ve launched a new line of big, bold, unusual rocks set in a warm 18k white gold with a brushed finish; perfect holiday gift material! You can go “classic” with a pair of cuff-links. Or on trend with this natural surface obsidian ring. It’s a character-filled rectangle that has a combination matte surface with shiny, glass-like rivers running through the black-ish stone. Want a stronger statement? The petrified sequoia wood leather band bracelet features a stone displaying a beautiful pattern of contrasting café, cream and chocolate hues from fossilized ancient trees. It’s a piece of geologic history and a conversation starter.
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