Historically, men have always worn jewellery to some extent – even leading the way in many cultures. As a symbol of power, torcs, brooches, diadems, rings and crowns were prized items and often reserved just for men. Kings and tribal leaders used jewellery to stamp their authority inspiring awe in their people and fear and jealousy in their enemies.
Men’s Gold Jewellery
The Ancient Egyptians favoured highly jewelled pectorals, headwear and elaborate ‘slave bangles’. The more gold used, the more jewels incorporated into the piece and the more skilfully it was worked, the higher the status of the wearer. Celtic tribesmen adorned themselves with torcs, cloak pins and brooches as well carrying ceremonial weapons. Their craftsmen were held in such high regard that they were given the freedom to travel between disputed lands and were accepted by all tribes.
The Aztecs were rich in gold and silver and used these metals extensively in jewellery making. Men would wear a wide range of jewellery including earrings, necklaces, ornate nose studs and ornaments through slits in their lower lips. Much of their jewellery was worn as a badge of honour or as a representation of their role in the society with specific pieces being worn by leaders, priests or warriors.
Throughout the Middle Ages and up to the French Revolution, Europe’s men revelled in wearing jewellery. Rings remained popular and, at various times, these were accompanied by bold, richly ornate chains worn across the shoulders, Girdles or chain belts, pendants, brooches, bangles and earrings. Men of the 18th century would often wear parures, or sets, of jewellery consisting of buckles, sword hilts and belts, brooches and buttons such was the fashion for opulent and extravagant adornment.
Otazu Men’s Jewellery
But then, from the late Victorian era, a steady decline in the popularity of men’s jewellery occurred in Western societies, to the point where something of a taboo grew regarding men and jewellery. For many years, a wedding ring, tie pin and cufflinks were all that appeared to be acceptable to all but the most flamboyant of men but, in recent years, this has begun to change and we now find a lot more choice of men’s items available and a far greater number of men again wearing jewellery.
Celebrity culture has provided a host of fashion role models who love their jewellery! Rock stars and sportsmen, film stars and designers have re-introduced the fashion for men’s jewellery by sporting a range of items from ethnic beads and chunky gold chains to diamond encrusted rings and huge diamond stud earrings. The look has been a celebration of masculinity and to some extent harks back to the days when jewellery was used to reflect the status and wealth of a man.
For men who want to be little less ostentatious, there are many designs out there. At Gemondo, a good range of modern jewellery for gents is available. There are the favourite classic signet rings set with Onyx and diamond in white or yellow gold displaying a range of subjects from Chinese characters to the Fleur de Lys and Celtic Cross or, for the more adventurous, Rodrigo Otazu has designed a range of impressive rings, bracelets and bangles in sterling silver. Sleek, streamlined and thoroughly masculine, the Gatik collection puts a new spin on men’s jewellery using materials such as stainless steel and carbon fibre as well as diamond and cubic zirconia.
Gatik Men’s Stainless Steel
As jewellery designers embrace this trend, the demand for men’s jewellery is expected to grow. High End jewellers have taken the modern youth fashion for ‘bling’ and have moulded and developed it into new classics that are sure to be with us for many years to come. In addition to this are the traditional designs that have been given a modern make-over with subtle design twists and new materials. The choice of items available continues to grow and the future of men’s jewellery again looks bright and shiny!