Men's jewelry, a story of symbols and belonging
To tell the history of men's jewelry
, we could go back to... the Stone Age! And yes, Neanderthals made the first bracelets and necklaces, admittedly in the form of bones and shells, some 130,000 years ago. Subsequently, the Egyptians accumulated gold and silver coins, attributing protective virtues to them, Greek and Roman soldiers wore bracelets for the same reasons.
Today's rappers and their heavy finery, meanwhile, might remember Sir John Swinford and the Esses necklace he wore in the 14th century, actually an imposing livery necklace
of precious metal as worn by medieval men. Adorned with a miniature portrait of their donor to a person of high rank, these necklaces gave way to the gold chain
and the symbolic pendant from the Renaissance onward.
It was again during the same period that the earring
was popularized in Europe, incidentally already adopted by sailors and buccaneers, again for protective purposes. But not only that, a gold earring was also meant to pay for a decent burial for its owner in case his body was found stranded.
The symbolism around the man jewel
is therefore extremely strong, regardless of the era. Gemstone rings and ornaments have long remained the prerogative of monarchs and powerful men, Indian maharajas - for whom the greatest French jewelers worked in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries - in mind. This symbolism of the jewel as a sign of belonging remains strong in contemporary times. Even before the earring worn on the right ear to signify belonging to the homosexual community, the golden earring
was worn as a claim, in the Black Power movement in the late 1960s - one recalls that the Creole earring was also worn by slaves to remind them of their origins. The same piece of jewelry was later adopted by hippies, this time as a sign of nonconformity and rebellion.
Pioneering jewelers in men's jewelry
Do we still need to talk about the chevaliere
, the ring of belonging excellence, which is still the talk of contemporary jewelry
? Of the gourmette, the famous engraved bracelet, offered for special occasions and democratized by Elvis Presley, James Dean and other Alain Delon?
One thing is certain, in the 21st century, the use of men's jewelry is widespread, going beyond the traditional watches, alliances
and cufflinks. Men's jewelry is also becoming a style affair
, less codified, and is worn freely.
Some jewelry houses
have understood this, alongside specialized brands like Le Gramme, Ursul or Triwa. They now offer a full catalog of jewelry for men. Other jewelers have even been precursors, and one naturally thinks of Fred and its iconic bracelet Force 10, created as early as 1966 and announcing the color: "Those who wear Force 10 envision life as an adventure that must be led with style and panache."
The House of Cartier also knew how to anticipate. Born at the dawn of the 1970s, the Love collection is in essence a unisex collection. Its rings, in particular, bear witness to the fact that diamonds themselves are no longer the exclusive preserve of women's jewelry. The French jeweler's men's jewelry, from Juste un Clou rings to the Love bracelet and Ecrou earring, don't shy away from being studded with diamonds. Cartier also stands out for its use of rose gold, while men's jewelry often relies on metals like platinum, white or yellow gold, and silver.
Men's collections born in New York and Paris
A House like Bulgari is no more hesitant to offer men's rings, earrings and bracelets in rose gold and diamond, particularly in its iconic B. Zero1
, when Serpenti incorporates stones like sapphire and malachite.
Thus, there is no longer any question of limiting certain materials to women's jewelry design, nor jewels. The New York House David Yurman
goes so far as to create men's collections of high jewelry
, and adorns its pendants, Venetian mesh bracelets, and rings with emeralds, turquoise or piétersite. In the same American city, Tiffany & Co unveils its vision of jewelry for the modern man: "elegance, simplicity and functionality". In particular, the brand has created a collection of the essentials of the men's wardrobe
, called Tiffany 1837Tm.
New York may be a city where creativity reigns, but we shouldn't think that French jewelers are left behind. We've seen it with a House like Cartier, but it's not the only one to stand out. Dinh Van
is declining its iconic motifs, Handcuffs and Pi in the lead, in men's jewelry - especially cord bracelets - and creating a dedicated collection, Zen, when Messika
is adopting titanium in three colors to adapt Move and its diamond in motion.