Join us for our weekly BAJ:Insight on the latest industry trends by Rachael Taylor, a freelance journalist who writes about jewellery for a number of titles, including The Financial Times, The Jewellery Editor and Retail Jeweller. In her 10 years reporting on the industry, she has travelled the globe to visit key industry fairs, descended a Fairtrade gold mine on top of a Peruvian mountain, toured silver jewellery factories in Thailand, and regularly has access to the most sparkling jewels and people in the business.
So many brands offer what I would describe as token men’s collections. Huddled towards the end of a cabinet in a quiet corner of the store, you might spot a darkly hued clutch of dog tags, leather braid bracelets and ultra-plain silver (or more likely stainless steel) rings. Yet, a new study released by Barclaycard suggests that men spend the most money on fashion, so surely there must be more exciting options out there?
Amadeo has brought the ancient art of cameo into the modern age and these men’s pendants use the same carving skills to transform hunks of lava into jewels.
Ana de Costa teamed with Rolls-Royce to create a sapphire-studded collection of jewels for men that included this pin, which taps into the trend for bejewelled suit lapels.
Ara Vartanian is known for his edgy men’s jewels, as well as last year’s collaboration with Kate Moss, and these rings show that stacking is not just for the fairer sex.
One of the conceptual jewellers that Turner chose to support in the early days of The Electrum Gallery was Gijs Bakker, a Dutch designer who became famous for his jewellery creations, despite his loud and regular assertions that he hat ved jewellery. At 75-years-old, the disruptive designer is still provoking people with his jewellery. One of his newest creations, released last year, is a necklace made up of faces of his famous heroes, ranked in order of the colour of their skin. The sliding racial scale starts from a chalk-white David Bowie and ends with a dark-skinned Miles Davis. What spurred Bakker to create this Black to White necklace was concern about rising levels of racial hatred in the Netherlands.
Kat Florence released a collection of men’s jewellery during London: Men’s Collections at the beginning of this year, and this gold and yellow ring from the line has sensual texturing.
Messika has tweaked its signature Move collection for the male market, swapping gold for tougher titanium to create the tracks for its iconic rolling diamonds.
Minas likes to make its jewels practical as well as aesthetically pleasing, and this rhodium-plated gold pendant is a fully operational whistle (it also has a working spirit level pendant).
Openjart knows that men like diamonds too, but sometimes don’t like to be flashy, so this ring – in an effort to keep the bling low key – sets round brilliants in the inside of the band.
In my experience, men who are willing to spend money on fine jewels don’t want dog tags and leather braids. If they have committed themselves to investing in jewels, they are seeking out unusual designs that will communicate their style prowess to other likeminded, sartorially aware men (and women). Perhaps this is why innovation lies in the higher end of the market. Here are 10 examples of men’s jewellery that will make you reconsider the (perceived) boundaries of male jewellery design.
Rachel Boston creates dark jewels for fashion-conscious men and this silver stag beetle is a bold statement, measuring nearly 3cm and sitting on a mid-length chain.
Ricardo Basta won the men’s category at the AGTA Spectrum gemmology awards this year for this chunky ring set with a 7.5ct starburst trapiche sapphire.
Sarah Ho’s Numerati collection was so popular with women that she extended it for men, creating these lucky number rings (this one is a 4) in chunky silver.