“An ostentatious ring (statement). This is what makes it possible to make the difference between men and boys.” So says Stephen Webster, the British jewelry designer.
Webster's designs aren't for everyone, though. For example, he offers very imposing men's rings with a lion's head. We have already seen more discreet.
Men and jewelry, a complex relationship
The problem is this: modern man has a complex relationship with adornment. In some cultures, aside from the watch or wedding ring, jewelry directly collides with traditional perceptions of masculinity. Historically, in these societies the men who wear jewelry are those who find themselves somewhat on the margins of society. For example the androgynes of the punk movement, or the famous silver peace & love medallion that hangs on the chains of the hippies. Past attempts to democratize men's jewelry have often been disastrous.
If you need proof, let's quote the oversized medallions from the 70s. But behaviors are changing among young people, or among metrosexuals. “Until recently, for the average man, wearing jewelry meant putting on a wedding band or wearing a watch. You could even consider it trendy, almost rebellious. But today, a wide variety of men combine men's bracelets, necklaces and rings, whether it's the classic look they wear at the office or the casual outfit for the weekend," said Simon Spiteri, in charge of purchasing accessories for the Mr Porter website. "I think this fashion was started by influential celebrities, as well as freestyle photographers and Instagram influencers, who showed how easy it can be for a man to wear jewelry," he added.
The Mr Porter site has witnessed " an upsurge in demand for men's jewelry" over the past 2 years, according to Mr. Spiteri. Going back to Webster, he launched his first collection of men's jewelry, called Rayman, almost 20 years ago. He agrees on the observation of a change with regard to this market. “ It would probably be an extreme to say that men's jewelery is as widespread as its feminine counterpart. But it's clearly no longer just for rock stars, rappers and sports personalities. It's very interesting to see that men are developing a taste for jewelry," he said.
The fact that the male clientele considers jewelry to be an increasingly worthwhile investment is corroborated by the fact that they increase the budget they are willing to devote to it, according to Candice Fragis, by Farfetch. “This season, our customers who buy clothes are more and more interested in jewelry. In general, we see that they are willing to spend more on this type of product. For the men's jewelry market to truly mature, this trend needs to continue," she explained.
In addition to popular big brands such as Versace, Saint-Laurent and Valentino, new brands are also selling very well, according to Candice Fragis. This is particularly the case with men's leather bracelets Shaun Leane, or Tom Wood rings.
She also claims that men are more and more ready to experiment. In the past men had rather conservative choices when it came to their jewellery. But since they are more and more sensitive to fashion, and that the choice in men's jewelry is increasingly rich, their attitude is more and more daring. This can be seen in particular on the side of leather bracelets, a range of products that offers a very wide choice.
Men's bracelets, the most popular male jewellery
The bracelet for men has become the flagship jewelry product for Monsieur. They are easy to wear, easy to hide. For those gentlemen who could only bring themselves to wear a watch, this is the simplest and most comfortable choice. "A bead bracelet or leather bracelet has become a very common part of the male look," says Webster. “For men, the bracelet is the perfect accessory to make the transition and immerse themselves in the world of jewelry. In a way, it counterbalances the watch on the other wrist. In the event of a meeting, you can easily hide it in your sleeve. I have quite a few conservative clients who confess to operating this way," he adds.
The huge selection of men's bracelets means there's something for everyone. From the bracelet to the pearl bracelet via the ring in silver or the leather bracelet, from the discreet model to the somewhat flashy bracelet, the choice is plethoric . And while stacking, the wearing of several pieces at the same time, has just become popular among the ladies, men are also getting into it. “Pearl bracelets are making a breakthrough, wearing them with other pieces has become trendy. For example, you can wear a rope or leather bracelet with a shamballa, or even with a steel bracelet, to create individualized combinations,” says Spiteri.
"But there is one thing that is certain: try men's jewelry, it's to adopt it, those who try the experiment become unstoppable afterwards, " says Webster. His Cuban bracelet is particularly successful.
But that doesn't mean that men are only interested in bracelets. In particular, Fragis has noticed a resurgence in gold medallion chains and chunky Versace rings, meaning we could be seeing a return to '70s fashion. The very daring jewels of Alexander McQueen, which will seduce only the most daring, attract a growing fringe of interested customers.