A man living in the modern society finds many ways of flaunting wealth. Be it a gadget, or a mansion, or a car that's as expensive as a rocket - possessions surely speak a lot about the man who owns them. There is something that has never gone out of fashion, unlike a trendy gadget or a hot new car. That's the piece of jewelry that men have worn since ages, time immemorial, from past till today. Yes, you read that right. It's the jewelry!
Men have been wearing jewelry since long, right through the centuries that just passed us by. The ultimate example of 16th cen bling can be seen in Henry VIII's paintings where kings are kind of drowning in pearls and finery, yet look ultra masculine.
As the gender equations changed, men's jewelry did too. Through last two centuries, men acquired new interests that showed off their 'machismo' and dropped a few pieces of precious jewelry that didn't contribute to their masculinity.
This time of promiscuity and industrialisation turned jewelry into an almost sole preserve of women.
Things changed briefly with 'flower power' of hippie movement in early 1960s, but then things came to the return point again. Sorry, we are men; so no jewelry.
Wedding ring held the sole propriety for long, of this no-jewelry phase and stayed alive with lots of help from couples who chose 'love bands' over everything else. By then, the jewelry for men had reached a state of casualty. None beyond those wedding rings. Again, sorry! away with jewelry!
The expressive 1980s were more liberal and vibrant. Those glass beads, those bunch of flowers gosh! One wondered if hippie days had made a brief comeback with the Smiths, Morrissey et al. Rap musicians ruled the charts both in market and in jewelry stores. P Diddy even touched some raw nerves with his choice of dressing and most of all, with the bling he wore!
When one looks at jewelry advertising, it is evident that women rule the roost. Men are marginalised. But, the trend soon seems to be tilting towards gender equality (of a different type here!). Though celebrity based advertising has been on since long, Indian Southern state of Kerala has made a conscious choice of male celebrities for gold advertisements, over celebrity women brand ambassadors.
This became evident with Indian jewelry designer Farah Khan Ali's choice of using male designers to showcase her masterpieces on the ramp strutting the diamante et al, paving way for men and bling!! Now, THAT was party time!
Just about two years ago, when LA Times wrote a report, it stunned the readers with certain expressions for passages as ""The most surprising thing about West Hollywood's Gray Gallery isn't that in the 13 months since opening its doors the combination interior-design studio and jewelry boutique has emerged as a key resource for stylists looking to borrow unique jewelry to accessorize their celebrity clients. The surprise is how much of that red-carpet clientele is male. Pieces from Gray's collection of vintage cuff links, watches and rings have appeared on A-list actors including Johnny Depp, Jeremy Renner, David Boreanz and Ryan Gosling."
Like it happens worldwide, celebrities lead the trends and there have been more comforting images of male celebrities showing off some glittery bling in 2013 than times before. The ever famous Philip Crangi was featured in high profile men's lifestyle magazines like GQ, speaking for the male jewelry. It is important to note that Crangi has associated himself with jewelry designers Giles + Brother to produce a range of jewelry created from illegal guns. Now, don't be silly to ask why. Seeped in history, weaponry, and detailing (each jewelry) has the serial number of the weapon used to create it. This surely makes it 'hawt' property!
Singer and teen sensation Justin Bieber has been spotted with small amounts of bling such as ear studs. Picture of Will Smith is never complete without his trademark diamond studs. The Situation wears in-your-face kind of rosary and Johnny Depp? You gotta give him for those silvery, stylish array of finger rings!! His love for corals has never been a secret.
Brad Pitt is inseparable from his thin gold chains, Colin Farrel won't have anything apart from thick-gunmetal colored hoop earrings.
Candelabra, the movie that garnered good response is about the life and times of Liberace - a jewelry lover. Will this help the cause of men's jewelry? Well, let's hope so!
Jewelry manufacturers are quick to pick up the trends and bring the piece into existence before the image and enthusiasm is lost. InSpirit jewelry, which has been around since 2006 caters to men's blingy needs and has remained 'trendy' all through the years.
The Intercollection, a Brighton-based manufacturer has kept the business perky with new collections every season. Brighton is their dip stick test. "All through the two decades, we have stuck to the trend. If it sells in Brighton, it surely has a market elsewhere too!" says Gil, the MD of the company says.
City packs most highstreet fashion trends. If the city's speaking the language of male jewelry, the trend is here to stay!