You’ve Got Male

The men’s jewelry trend shows no signs of stopping. From brooches on the red carpet—we’re thinking of you, Michael B. Jordan, in your Tiffany & Co. at this year’s Oscars—to Timothée Chalamet, the latest devotee of pearls, men’s collections continue to mushroom at every major trade show, and with good reason. 

The demand is there, and research from “The Plumb Club Industry and Market Insights 2023” backs it up. “The increasing acceptance of jewelry among men is propelling the growth of the market,” states the report.

Prime Art & Jewel

The rise in those identifying as gender fluid plays a role, too, as gender-neutral jewelry—often not overtly feminine—appeals to many and is inspiring many a new look.

“Men’s jewelry is undergoing a surge in popularity, with men using jewelry as a tool to reflect their individuality and style,” says Prime Art & Jewel’s Susie Wilty, director of sales.

“For ages, men relied only on watches to achieve personal style, but now, with the influence of male style icons who have paved the way in expressing themselves via jewelry, the men’s jewelry trend is having a moment,” confirms Fran Mastoloni, a principal at Mastoloni Pearls, which debuted its first men’s line at the 2023 JCK Las Vegas show.

The collection features bracelets and necklaces in brushed sterling silver and 14k yellow gold mixed with leather and, not surprisingly, a pearl—a Tahitian. The response from retailers and press? “Very positive,” he notes.

If clients appear bewildered by such fresh style, start the sales presentation with traditional items—dog tags and signet rings. According to Valerie Fletcher, vice president of design and product development at ODI, they’re unfussy. In the arena of the more meaningful, try a religious pendant.

          Mastoloni Pearls

“Silver or alternative metals are another good place to start for the customer who is hesitant to invest a lot of money or afraid they will damage their jewelry due to work or lifestyle,” she adds.

Wilty, too, is offering a bit of tradition in brushed and polished gunmetal colors for bracelets and necklaces. She’s also seeing high demand for “high-quality chains in different designs,” she explains.

One super cool style that hasn’t yet gone mainstream—but should—is a thin black diamond tennis necklace, worn alone or layered with companion styles, maintains Fletcher.

“It can be a little bit rock or goth, but still minimal, understated, and tailored,” she says. “It’s the little black dress of men’s jewelry.”

Other popular styles are pieces with textured, matte, or satin finishes with clean lines in yellow gold. “Elongated pendants, black diamonds, and carved/floral designs are doing well,” she confirms.

At Prime Art & Jewel, dark colors are also trending in gunmetal plating on sterling silver and black sapphires, a stark contrast to offerings from long ago.

“Years ago, men’s jewelry was all about gold chains and pinky rings, and the landscape has changed so much since then!” she laughs, clearly with a Sopranos-type caricature in mind.

But just because many men’s styles are on the bulkier side doesn’t mean there’s not an alternative. Shah Luxury’s Puja Malpani insists that the men’s category is going through a transition. They want more personalization, better materials and designs, and even full custom.

“Retail stores who can accommodate these buyers will control a piece of the industry that is in a current power vacuum,” she says. “Style for men’s jewelry is shifting away from larger ‘manly’ designs.

ODI

Fashion trendsetters are wearing more traditionally feminine designs. We will see smaller chained diamond bracelets, pearls, and smaller-faced watches enter rural areas—as they have already begun in larger markets. We are seeing trendsetters wearing single large diamond pendants, much like you may have sold their wife last year.”

Welcome this new style wave and encourage women to gift their guys something other than a watch. You might be pleasantly surprised, as so many merchants are realizing.

“The magic happens in the scale and comprehensive ability to change and customize,” adds Malpani.

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