A brief history of men’s jewelry trends – from era of Kings and onwards…

King or Emperor, conjures up an image of royalty, opulence and a life of luxury. Since ancient times, kings have known to wear jewelry pieces as a symbol of grandeur. The higher in status and affluent you were in those times, bigger and better was the nature of jewels you flaunted. For hundreds of years’ emperors in India commissioned extraordinary royal jewels, usually from topnotch brands like Cartier. From 17th century onwards, Indian Kings amassed a dazzling collection of diamonds and gemstones necklaces, rings, brooches, crown jewels and much more. Even their swords and weapons were actual treasures bejeweled with rubies, emeralds, diamonds, gold, jade and pearls.

Necklaces were long worn by men in the clergy as a talisman or protective badge, denoting faith and dispelling evils, chains used to denote status and wealth, passed on from master to servant to denote power and status. We can see samples of extravagance in ancient Egyptian burial grounds, with discovery of Tutankhamun and other royal tombs covered in gold and gems.

At the turn of the 19th century, something changed and men stopped expressing themselves with individuality. Known as start of an era of the male renunciation, this period saw men abandon wearing of jewelry, bright colors and ostentatious fabrics in favor of a dark and sober look. They gave up their necklaces and brooches and traded them with homogenous ties and pocket squares. Other than the humble wedding band, no other piece of jewelry was usually seen on men.

Then came 60’s with it’s worldwide revolutions and power of individual and group rebellions. Men and women started defining themselves more than ever before and threw out the stereotyping rules which restricted them from expressing their individuality, out of the window. Beads and stones, bracelets and pendants were seen more often, jewelry was used to accessorize and tell stories in ways it had done for millennia before. Men stopped worrying about what someone else would say or think and channeled their inner stylish-persona with aplomb.

Today after 200 or so years of laying low, men’s jewelry trends are on the move with a high speed trajectory and gentlemen are experimenting with all kinds of adornment. The world of Haute Couture and High Fashion is right on top of this trend with men’s jewelry taking a stand and dominating recent shows like the TEFAF, the world’s largest art fair, where male jewelry was obvious and attractive. Male hero-figures, pop-stars, actors and models have worn and displayed jewelry with such popular overtures that some designers now come up with a male jewelry collection, much before they venture out into women’s jewelry designs for the season.

How does all this translate into the modern metro man’s jewelry options? Well, not as easily as you might imagine. Most of men’s jewelry is still found and sold online with not many jewelry stores stocking anything else except engagement rings. On the internet, you’ll find many websites offering advice on what kinds of jewelry men should wear but you need to take it with a grain of salt. You must try different themes and designs, but stick to the ones you feel most comfortable to wear.

In general, men go for designs that are not too high on bling factor but instead look like older, vintage pieces. A signet or skull ring, a talisman pendant necklace or a gemstone bracelet where the stone has a specific power are easy starting grounds which look great plus give you a chance to explore and build up your own style. Most importantly, wear a few pieces which you’re comfortable with and which announce as soon as someone lays eyes on you, that you’re interesting, intellectual and sexy!


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