The Man With a Pearl Earring: Making a Case for Male Jewellery
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The Man With a Pearl Earring: Making a Case for Male Jewellery

November 3, 2022 Share

Loaded with historical significance, male jewellery is having a comeback and we’re here to tell you all about it.

From signet rings to chunky earrings, the world of accessories is re-opening its doors to the male population. Taking a quick journey in time, looking at recent runways and introducing your to up-and-coming male jewellery designers, DDW has compiled the ultimate guide to male jewellery.

Take a look.

The History of Male Jewellery

Contemporary Western cultures have often seen jewellery as accentuations of femininity, with its male counterparts often restricting themselves to a fancy wristwatch or a singular ring. Recent fashion, however, has taken male jewellery by storm, making rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings part of the mainstream of male aesthetics, and although this may seem like a defiant move, male jewellery has been part of history from its very beginning.

According to Lillico, “In the ancient ages of mysticism and the founding of civilisations, jewellery played the important roles of imbuing magical powers and signifying leadership. Claws and fangs were perforated and strung into necklaces, as they were believed to confer the strength and power of the animal to the wearer.”

Likewise, Roman soldiers decorated with golden cuffs for divine protection, signet rings in the Middle Ages became popular amongst noble feudal families and European royalty bejewelled their cloaks in shimmering gold. It’s nothing new really.

It was only with the arrival of industrialisation, which led to a general detachment from unnecessary ornamentation (note this was a period of efficiency and mass production, not meticulously made jewellery and decor), that men began wearing less and less jewellery. And in a sense, it remained like this until very recently, with bejewelled men in society being symbols of defiance, alternativeness and artistry.

Male Jewellery and Celebrities

Image courtesy of Adam Balheim
Image courtesy of @asaprocky

Rings and bracelets are the staple, and generally most popularised forms of male jewellery. Often a lot chunkier, and cruder than their female counterparts, male jewellery has seeped into the modern and mainstream fashion discourse as it often does; through celebrities.

We have grown accustomed to seeing men walking the red carpet accessorised with necklaces, statement rings on every finger and bracelets. Johny Depp‘s rings have become part of his signature look, and Harry Styles uses jewellery to accentuate his playful and genderless fashion sense. It’s all about layered chains, pendants, crystals and all things embellishment.

Runway Trends in 2022

Reliable as always, fashion weeks and big runways are prime indicators of what is bound to pop up on the high street in a few months time. Taking cues from recent runway shows, genderless jewellery is is a primordial component in the vision of luxury household names.

Unexpected Ornamentation

Gucci‘s twin runway used jewellery as a form of ornamentation. It came in the form of face features, long chains and sunglasses. Their pieces were flowy and lightweight, primarily featuring long draping chains which favoured a more maximalist aesthetic.

Image courtesy of Vogue Runway
Image courtesy of Vogue Runway

Face Jewellery

Also in favour of facial pieces was Balmain, who happened to favour maximalism in their latest ready-to-wear runway for 2023. The runway saw male jewellery take the form of large septum rings and a lip feature to match, all very chunky as opposed to delicately subdued.

Image courtesy of Vogue Runway
Image courtesy of Vogue Runway

Long Chains

Tom Ford made a case for chains as featured accents to open collared shirts. These long accessories drive the gaze to the chest, which with its unbuttoned look grants a very vintage rockstar feel to any outfit.

Image courtesy of Vogue Runway

Image courtesy of Vogue Runway

Pieces to Invest In

For years jewellery have served as family heirlooms – mementos passed down generationally amongst family members. With male jewellery finally taking off again, investing in individual pieces are great investments to pass down to your loved ones. And whilst female jewellery brands such as Tiffany’s instantly come to mind, defining male jewellery designers are arguably lesser known. That being said, there is a myriad of up-and-coming lesser-known designers venturing into the world of male accessorisation which are working on some great things behind the scenes.

Luis Morais

Playing with stones and colour, Luis Morais tends to stir clear of silver and gold, and instead opts for male jewellery that is full of colour and iconography.

Image courtesy of Luis Morais
Image courtesy of Luis Morais

Presley Oldham

Presley Oldham is here to show that pearls (in all its forms, shapes, colours and sizes) are not, and should not, be exclusive to women.

Image courtesy of Presley Oldham
Image courtesy of Presley Oldham

Alighieri

Alighieri created jewellery based on history, literature and art, which makes their pieces elegant and timeless.

Image courtesy of Alighieri
Image courtesy of Alighieri

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