The Bold New Spirit of Men’s Jewelry

July 26, 2023   |  Beth Bernstein

Celebrity style is encouraging men to experiment with their jewels.

The now iconic man brooches and diamond and pearl necklaces adorning male celebrities on the red carpet are inspiring men to wear more than just a wedding ring and watch. And although guys in your circle or your workplace might not put on the glitz, they are willing to wear more artistic and daring pieces than we have seen since the Edwardian dandies or the cult following of the 1990s Chrome Hearts chunky silver tattoo-inspired jewelry.

Ray Griffiths Crownwork link and oxidized silver chain bracelet (Ray Griffiths)
Ray Griffiths Crownwork link and oxidized silver chain bracelet. (Ray Griffiths)

We interviewed both modern jewelry retailers and antique dealers to get their take on the red-carpet inspirations, trending styles and jewels that men are actually buying:

“I have struggled over the years to find men’s jewelry that fits the overall aesthetic of the store,” says Ellen Hertz, owner of Max’s in Minnesota’s Twin Cities. “We have done well with a small selection of men’s wedding rings from a variety of independent designers, and leather and silver bracelets from David Heston.” She continues, “But after seeing all the jewelry on the celebs, I picked up a few new lines at the Couture show. For me, the time is finally right to have a ‘men’s case’ of jewelry. Our selection is geared to the 25–40 demographic. They are into wearing bracelets and charms/pendants on chains or cord. I invested in bracelets and some rings from Suneera and Tateossian, as I believe cuff, beaded and corded bracelets comprise the strongest men’s category.”

Sydney Evan small marquis eye gold, turquoise and diamond beaded bracelet. (Mr Porter)  
Sydney Evan small marquise eye gold, turquoise and diamond beaded bracelet. (Mr Porter)  

Maxim De Turckheim, senior buyer for watches and fine jewelry at online luxury men’s outfitter Mr Porter says, “We were blown away by how ready our customers were to embrace the category when we launched. Our first sale was a $50,000 Shay rainbow bracelet. He agrees with Hertz that “the easiest piece of jewelry for a man to add to his wardrobe is a bracelet, so unsurprisingly this remains our most popular jewelry category, with beaded and tennis styles our bestsellers.”

He also notes the shifting aesthetic being spearheaded by celebrity culture. “Men on the red carpet have given guys the confidence to be a lot more experimental,” he explains. “Traditionally, this space has been geared towards women and wasn’t necessarily inclusive to men. However, this is developing with the launch of new men’s designers and unisex jewelry brands.

Jacquie Aiche 14 karat gold small Thunderbird diamond necklace with marquise center diamond and diamond bezels in the chain. (Jacqui Aiche)   
Jacquie Aiche 14-karat gold small Thunderbird diamond necklace with marquise center diamond and diamond bezels in the chain. (Jacquie Aiche)   

“Many of our popular styles at present in the men’s space are the genderless pieces by FoundRae, Jacquie Aiche and Sydney Evan, due to a relevant yet timeless aesthetic.”

With all the hype around celebrities’ antique and vintage man brooches, is this trend translating to the ‘street’?

Konstantinos Leoussis, an antique dealer who also designs his own jewelry under the label KIL, Elizabeth Doyle of antique jeweler Doyle & Doyle and Suzanne Martinez of Lang Antiques all agree that they are seeing men getting bolder about wearing brooches and even a pearl strand.

Jacquie Aiche 14 karat yellow gold sunshine opal inlay pave V diamond band ring. (Jacquie Aiche)  
Jacquie Aiche 14 karat yellow gold sunshine opal inlay pave V diamond band ring. (Jacquie Aiche)  

“However, says Martinez, “red-carpet jewelry needs to be over-the-top so that it photographs well, but most men won’t wear these jewels in everyday life.” Doyle and Leoussis see this translating into the mainstream in smaller figural and nature-inspired motifs, and diamond-set Victorian stars and Art Deco bar and lapel pins.”

Doyle sums it up: “Medallions and talismans on long chains or cords, signet and gypsy rings are now in demand with men again. There is enough jewelry out there in both the contemporary and antique/vintage space, but sometimes it just comes down to the styling and the willingness to get bolder.”

Lang Antiques Vintage stone ring and brooch on lapel (Lang Antiques)
Vintage stone ring and brooch on lapel from Lang Antiques. (Lang Antiques)

These styles may never surpass watches and wedding bands as main staples in men’s jewelry, but it definitely offers the ability to be more creative and confident.”

Main image: Rainbow K 14-karat yellow gold with black diamonds Timeless bracelet. (Rainbow K)

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