Men’s Jewelry Through the Ages
Men have adorned their bodies long before women, and many of the jewelry designs today are inspired by ancient symbolism and fashion.
Although jewelry houses have mainly focused on styles for women for the past two centuries, in recent years we’ve seen a rising trend of men wearing not just traditionally masculine styles but also gender fluid designs, such as beads and pearl necklaces.
Follow us on a journey into the history of men’s jewelry and its evolution to today’s trends.
Inspired By Nature
From the Neanderthals and the first tribes of Africa, accessories found by archaeologists were inspired by nature or derived from the hunt (flowers, leaves, feathers, teeth, bones, shells and colored pebbles – gems) and were worn to bring good luck, protect against evil and illness.
Meaning has always been attached to ornaments and colored gems, springing many myths and legends of people finding luck and fortune because of gemstones and jewelry. The ancient world made the idea of amulets popular, such as in Egypt, Byzantine, Greek and Roman Empires while also developing individual jewelry design styles. The expression of wealth and power through jewelry is becoming increasingly popular among men.
Coming Out of the Dark
The Middle Ages saw a decline in jewelry interest, with the exception of the nobility, rulers and clergy whose fascination with gold, jewels and gemstones brought on a new age of assertion through luxury. At one point in Europe, only the wealthy and the high-ranking church officials were allowed to wear gemstones.
Many types of jewelry had a functional aspect, men wore rings as a personal seal, a symbol of career, as a sign of identification, rank, authority or achievement.
Perfecting gemstone cutting created a boom in the demand of faceted, sparkling colored stones from the monarchs of Europe, maharajas of India and the emirs of the Middle East. The allure of these colored treasures sparked the imagination of craftsmen, wealthy men started wearing a single earring in one ear, elaborately decorated tie pins and cufflinks.
Embellished weapons, mostly swords and guns, were also the rage among the royalty of the world, a trend which continued up until the 19th century.
Contemporary Men’s Jewelry
Office work going mainstream changed the game for men’s jewelry design and what started with the wrist watch, a perfect articulation of form and function; had today gone beyond pieces for special occasions, weddings and formal events.
Thanks to an influence from hip-hop artists, athletes and other celebrities, men’s jewelry moves from functionality to an increased value put on design. Either for Father’s Day, your loved one’s birthday or anniversary, a pair of cufflinks is a perfect gift for the fashionable man in your life.
The Scandinavian, classic and timeless design of Hartmann’s ruby cufflinks give new life to our 3-billion-year-old treasures.