Men’s jewellery has had an interesting history. For too long in the modern age, the extent of men’s adornate endeavours were pretty much confined to the hands and wrists – a nice watch, a wedding band, and a pair of cufflinks. When you think about it, this is pretty strange given that in time gone by, men were actually the predominant wearers of jewellery and not women as it acted as a sign of wealth and stature.
So when and why exactly did the ladies speed past the lads in the accessories race? It’s hard to say, but the good news is the tides have well and truly turned and after a fair period of lagging, the boys department is making up for lost time with aplomb.
Thom Scherdel, Menswear Buyer at Browns Fashion tells us “We have seen strong uplift in more everyday, mid-range and classic jewellery like signet rings, silver chains and simple bracelets. However we’re seeing biggest growth from right at the other end with high-end pieces, there is such great appetite from customers. The bigger, the bolder, the better is the order of the day with jewellery that’s made to stand-out and is unapologetically opulent. Bold use of colourful stones and gold laced with diamonds make some of these pieces gender fluid, however there’s a real modern masculinity to this new aesthetic.” Hurrah! Sign us up.
Where do you see yourself on this scale?
Chris Brown, stylist to David Beckham and Luke Evans, advises: “For those who like to keep it simple – go with a very fine necklace as seen on Normal People’s Paul Mescal. This can be worked into any look, either in gold or silver but the thinner the better! Or go right the other way, follow in Harry Styles, Pharrell and Shawn Mendes’ footsteps and don’t be afraid of making a statement with a pearl necklace. This piece is slowly becoming the new gold chain of its time. Team it with edgy rock and roll styling if you’re unsure.”
Well there you have it. The men’s jewellery renaissance is here and it wants you. Scroll down for our introduction to some of the best marques around and prepare to live your best bejewelled life.
Best for: Silver (and doing your best Connell from Normal People impression)
Helmed by co-founders Jack Cannon and Joe Gelb, Hatton Labs, as the name suggests is a thoroughly modern men’s jewellery brand hailing from London’s jewellery district Hatton Garden.
The brand is making an irrefutable case for why you chaps can and absolutely should be wearing gem stones with the whopping jewel pendants – something that’s been so resoundingly and widely concurred in fact that all of the sparkly styles have sold out (sorry!). The team’s core focus is silver and their passion and craft for the material shows in the beautifully made, pared-back chains.
Remember that chain worn by that actor we mentioned? This is the place to get one for yourself.
Alice Made This
Best for: Cufflinks and tailoring accessories
Ever dreamed of being an astronaut when you were young? Or still do? We’re not judging! This is 2020 after all and anything is possible. Alice Made This can take you that one small step closer.
Born out of the hopeless search for modern and interesting cufflinks for founder Alice’s husband-to-be’s wedding attire, the debut cufflinks collection launched with an unlikely source for both inspiration and production – aerospace.
The designer enlisted British aeronautical engineers to help design and produce the pieces – a practise that still continues today. The staggeringly refreshing collection was so well-received that it spawned the entire business, which now stands as fully-fledged brand housing men’s and women’s jewellery as well as gifts. While all of the products are lust-worthy, it’s the tailoring accessories – cufflinks, lapel pins and tiebars – which truly are worlds apart from anything else on the market.
Also available at Mr Porter
Best for: Modern, directional jewellery
Dropping out of Central St. Martins just before his Graduate Showcase proved the right move for Brazilian-born designer Crocetti when his coursework jewellery was keenly picked up by editors wanting to feature his work. Jump forward not a year and he was invited to show his collection at Lulu Kennedy’s new talent showcase Fashion East at London Fashion Week before he was swiftly picked up by Dover Street Market in London, New York, and Tokyo. But even with these accolades, it’s his men’s jewellery pieces which really do the talking. He’s worked wonders in introducing more stones and, well, sparkle into men’s jewellery with his seamless blend of zeitgeisty streetwear emblems and gemstones such as amethyst and citrine as well as pearls that make for a wholly appealing proposition. Gift buyers take heed, there’s no room for error here.
Honorouable mention goes to the viper cuffs for a whole new way to wear men’s jewellery on the lips.
Best for: Choice
Your jewellery journey shouldn’t be without a visit to good old Topman. Doing what the brand do so well on its fashion collections, you’ll find edits of men’s jewellery spanning both all the key classic and exciting contemporary trends, making it the perfect place to have fun experimenting with new and different styles. Take the Harry Styles-inspired pearl necklace look, for example – there’s an impressively meaty selection of the opulent ocean-sourced trend, with styles ranging from ‘I’ll just dip my toe’ (with outrageously on-point single pearl set on a gold bracelet), all the way up to ‘drench me all in your finery.’
Best for: Value
H&M are another high street hero not to be overlooked when it comes to playing your with personal style. Specialising in trend packs – sets of multiple men’s jewellery items designed to be worn, together, broken up or just about any way you like – the brand can’t be beaten on bang for your style buck and make another superb destination for mixing up your accessories game.
Best for: Wearable statement pieces
Experts in the unafraid fashion department, you can always rely on River Island for the more thrilling menswear trends. Bright colours, bold prints and a bit of unashamed bling is what the brand do so well, making this the prime place if you want to inject a bit of the flashy stuff into your look without the high shine price tag. Unleash your inner magpie and effortlessly elevate your casual, slouchy winter jumpers with an encrusted gold ring with or channel your inner Versace with a timelessly cool Greek Meander bracelet. This is men’s jewellery to make your smile.
Best for: Beaded bracelets
Miami-based Luis Morais’ origin story in the men’s jewellery game is a rather fun tale. Disappointed in his failed quest to track down a bracelet he’d seen in a magazine, he set about making himself a replica. The rest is well-accessorised history.
As with most brands on our list, all of Luis Morais’ men’s jewellery is standout. However since his eponymous brand landed in 2002, he has been and remains reigning king of wristwear, notably – his beaded pieces. Wear stacked, pick and mix style with your watch and other bracelets. His signature stone wristbands, although bright, are slim enough that they don’t have even an ounce of the wrong kind of ‘look at me’ about them. Take a look at the brand’s Instagram for some stacking inspiration but be warned – your wishlist will also stack up.
Best for: Rings
When Norwegian jewellery designer Tom Wood launched in 2013, he became an overnight cult classic amongst editors, coolhunters and savvy menswear shoppers alike. Very soon after, he transformed his label into an outright destination within the market, swiftly expanding the brand to meet the demands of his customers via its offering of super cool, Scandi-chic, norm-core capsule fashion collections.
Not content with stopping there, Wood has capitalised on that same cult favourite allure and now goes far beyond just making beautiful jewellery to buy. The label is curating and nurturing a whole creative ecosystem around its collections – think collaborations and projects with photographers, chefs, eco-denim manufacturers – and none seem like out of place pairings.
But no matter how many achingly cool projects the brand collaborates on, the true hero styles are the brushed silver rings. They are just the epitome of everything we’ve all come to love so much about Scandi design. The rings are spectacularly uncomplicated in design, are made irresistible by impeccable craft and precision and are instantly recognisable and oh-so covetable.
Best for: Rings Classics with a twist
As the name may have you guess, Maple, the brand by Austin McMahon hails from the Great White North, Canada.
Alongside the signature Collegiate rings, which draw on Art Deco styles sported by college students in the 1920s which are definitely worth a look, you can expect equally impressive ranges of both silver and gold pieces all with something to say via stones, surface textures and popular symbols.
Definitely sliding toward the grittier end of the scale, this is unapologetic, chunky jewellery without any of the ‘all biker jacket, no bike’ pretence that some men’s jewellery brands can all too often fall foul of. Oh and did we mention all products are made using recycled materials? Look good, feel good, do good. We’re in.
Best for: Sustainability
Relative newcomer, Bleue has only been on the men’s jewellery scene since just 2018 which when you consider what he’s achieved in that time – exclusive collections for BrownsFashion and a roster of stockists including Mr Porter, MatchesFashion and Harvey Nichols – it’s pretty surprising. But perhaps the designer’s background holds the secret to his unstoppable momentum. Studying Environmental Sustainability at university, Burnham went on to roles including Head of Sustainability at Oliver Spencer before finally setting up his eponymous men’s jewellery brand. Carrying forward this experience and knowledge, his commitment to responsible practices now runs through the core of every part of his business, and trust us when we say he is not messing around.
From the brand’s carbon reduction schemes, tree planting and use of bicycles for shipping right through to its packaging and choice of bank, use of lab-grown gems and jewellery recycling schemes, this is exemplary sustainable practice at its very best. And the jewellery, well it speaks for itself.
Best for: Pieces you’ll never take off
NYC-based brand Foundrae are another young-ish men’s jewellery brand on our list and what the brand may lack in years, it certainly makes up for in impact.
Really bucking the trend in what so many brands are now calling ‘modern heirlooms’, the label has stayed true to form with concise, slow-burn collections throughout which the design duo’s core aesthetic still completely permeates. The founding cigar band rings, for example remain a mainstay in the collections today and we, for one, are beyond grateful.
And while you’ll find them readily available on all of the major online style retailers, the brand has still retained a level of elusivity that rather wonderfully means the chances of spotting the same ring as yours on a finger clasping a well deserved pint down the pub are very slim. That mystery alongside with ancient techniques like enamelling, alphabet lettering and celestial design references altogether make for a brand that’s rather, well, magical. And who doesn’t want a bit of that these days.
Best for: Innovative materials
Exploding at the intersection of self-teaching YouTube tutorials and viral Instagram posts 26 year-old Mercer seemed to skip the whole ‘rising’ part of the star trajectory and skip straight to astronomic heights to become a shining example of a social media star brand done right.
Specialising in fluid contrasts of materials, namely resin and gold or silver, each piece is still handmade by Ellie here in London. If you’re struggling to choose between one of her ready-to-wear styles, as we did, she’s currently hard at work in her studio experimenting with setting unusual materials in resin so definitely consider commissioning her for a custom piece while you still can. Looking ahead, she has her sights set on homeware and fashion collaborations so watch this space.
Best for: Gold pieces
The brainchild of Australian men’s style influencer turned jewellery designer in his own right Hass Murad, Dear Letterman is the seemingly unstoppable new kid on the men’s jewellery brand block. Launching just last year, Murad draws on old-world metal-casting techniques and works with locally-based artisan crafters to produce his distinctly romantic, relaxed metals pieces. The real heroes are his gold pendants which are just crying out to be worn with a fitted vest and loose open shirt.
Tiffany & Co.
Best for: A special gift, occasion or milestone
With a name that precedes them, when Tiffany & Co. launched its first full, dedicated men’s line in 2019, it was destined to be a hit. Crash-landing with a 100-strong collection of pieces, the brand transitioned its signature style into a full men’s jewellery range of rings, neckchains and bracelets seamlessly, imbuing onto every single product the thing that the brand does very best – absolutely timeless, ageless style. Buy a ring there tomorrow and know it will look every bit as slick in fifty years time, if not more. The only question you’ll be asking besides ‘what should I get?’ is ‘why the hell did it take them so long?!’.
Best for: Leather bracelets
Founded in 1990, Tateossian was one of the first modern brands to really conquer men’s jewellery and it’s still as popular today. Perched in amongst a vast, and we mean vast selection of cufflinks, rings and necklaces in just about every iteration of style and fabrication you could dream of, the brand’s wristwear is its real trademark. Much like Luis Morais bracelets, these are best suited mixed and matched with a few others.
1017 Alyx 9SM
Best for: On-trend fashion jewellery
Better known for apparel than for jewellery per se, the cult streetwear label Alyx from Givenchy Creative Director Matthew M. William’s has a jewellery range too that is not to be missed.
Predominantly silver, styles are hardcore in their fabrication – weighty chains with buckle-style clasps – and of an overall utilitarian feel. These will look best adorned centre stage alone as your primary jewellery piece against plain tops – think the chunky black chain style on a fresh white sweatshirt and the silver necklaces against plain black and deep colours.
Also available at End Clothing
Best for: Noticeable neck chains
As founders and mates Fredrik Nathorst and Jacob Skragge describe their Sweden-born brand, it’s “two parts minimal, one part statement”. Putting recycled silver at the base of its jewellery collections, All Blues is approaching gender fluidity in its designs in a different way to so many others. The brand puts the emphasis on length and materials instead of embellishments. This results in pieces that stand-out but you can’t quite figure out why. The jewellery is interesting, elevated and classic with styles you’ll be excited to wear. Pair with a chunky ribbed jumper or baggy sweatshirt.
Best for: Clean, classic and polished pieces
London-based brand Alex Orso’s design ethos has always been very much centred on putting the materials first and letting them speak for themselves. Inspired by geometry, his highly polished pieces have clean lines, are super wearable and a great choice should this be your first big foray into regular jewellery wearing. Definitely check out the narrow cuff bracelets, particularly the silver and emerald. It’s also worth noting that Alex’s hand-made rings make for perfect wedding rings. It is, however, the iconic Ringpull pendant that reigns supreme as one of the most recognisable designs in men’s contemporary jewellery.
For what has been the hottest item in men’s jewellery this year by miles, it has to be a fine silver chain from Hatton Labs.
But for a ring that will become a part of you worn all the time, Tom Wood’s modern take on the iconic signet ring is a must.
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