– by Sumesh Wadhera, Managing Director & Editor-in-Chief, The Art of Jewellery.
Men are getting more fashion-conscious these days and are not shying away from wearing jewellery & accessories of their choice. Men’s jewellery is a key category with immense growth opportunities.
The modern man’s love affair with jewellery continues to the present day. Today’s cosmopolitan, sophisticated and suave men wear their unique styles comfortably, with jewellery playing a significant role in defining their look.
Even if we take a look at our history, the royal passion for bejewelled luxury extended beyond bodily ornaments to create some of the world’s most spectacular and unique products such as the peacock throne. Their favourite pets like the cheetah, falcon, elephant or the horse – all had precious jewellery to adorn them. Such lavish lifestyles always made way for ornamentation, creating a lasting association of the regal power of the Maharajas with their gemstones.
As society aims to become more liberated and fluid, men’s attitudes towards jewellery too are changing. From cufflinks, tiepins and timepieces, they are now experimenting with the kind of adornment hitherto regarded as exclusively feminine. On the other hand, they are also sporting funky jewellery such as skull rings, fancy brooches, Heroes and willing rings etc. – for the macho effect.
Men are wearing jewellery as a means of self-expression. They want to convey that they are cool, interesting, intelligent and hopefully, sexy.
Today’s millennials are also well-travelled. They are aware of the global trends and often buy designer jewellery from Vivienne Westwood, Earnest Jones or David Yurman.
Ornaments worn by men symbolized their power over adversaries. Some ornaments, such as a specific headdress, could be worn only by certain members of a social group, those who inherited the right or earned it. The earliest forms of jewellery were made with flowers, especially orchids, which were inserted as ornaments in a hole in the earlobe of men and boys. Metal, ivory, or crystal ornaments also adorned the earlobes. Human hair taken from the decapitated head of an enemy was also a prized ornament for men. It symbolized a boy’s rise to the status of warrior. The hair was often dyed red to symbolize the blood spurting from its victim. Tiger claws and animal horns were frequently used to adorn the body. The Naga people of North-Eastern India continue to practice the ancient customs that began thousands of years ago.
Indian men typically wore less jewellery than women, but the varieties available to men were plentiful. Upon their heads men could adorn their turbans with pearl-tipped heron bird feathers, a fan of jewels, or an ornament shaped like a bird with a strand of pearls in its beak. Around their necks, men hung pendants, strands of pearls, or amulets made of precious metal inlaid with gemstones. Hinged armbands and bracelets adorned their upper arms and wrists.
Indian men wore many rings on their fingers. Even the thumb had special ‘thumb ring’. Worn by Hindus since ancient times, signet rings were considered good luck amulets by Buddhists from the first to the tenth centuries. They were also prized by Muslims from the twelfth century. The archer’s thumb ring was used to increase the accuracy and distance of an arrow and became popular in India during the Mogul Empire. Wealthier men wore archer’s rings made of gold and inlaid with gems, including diamonds and rubies.
So as can be seen, from our rich history to our vibrant present, jewellery has always been a form of self-expression for men too. As society continues to evolve, it is exciting to see how trends and styles will evolve along with it – not just jewellery but complementary fashion & accessories as a whole. We must always be open to change and help it make way for a more inclusive & beautiful world.
Image Credits & Copyrights: The Art of Jewellery Magazine
This was another special feature blog by the illustrious ‘shining’ star, Sumesh Wadhera, Managing Director and Owner of India’s #1 Jewellery Magazine – The Art of Jewellery. We will continue to present relevant news and interesting insights across industries with the help of our wide network, and the much-appreciated collaboration of our contributors.
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