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  • Writer's pictureJadelin Chun

Cultural Shifts in Men’s Jewelry

In Western culture, we often equate decorative jewelry with women. However, many cultural shifts are occurring, leading to men being applauded for being more experimental with fashion and jewelry. What you may not realize is that men have not always been so limited in their decorative choices. History is full of examples of men expressing themselves with clothing and accessories, and many believe that the pendulum is swinging.

Symbol of Wealth and Power

To confirm mans’ historical love of the finer things in fashion, one only needs to turn to art. Historical paintings of the most significant men are glistening with precious metals and stones. Sir Walter Raleigh can be seen in art adorned with a huge pearl earring. This popular trend extended to many men throughout the time. Charles I of England was a follower of the trend as well and is shown wearing his pearl earring from his teen years into his final days.

Men historically wore rings made with precious metals and stones that served as decoration and a show of their family or social allegiances. Henry VIII is often depicted in paintings loaded with jewelry such as a pearl earring, gem-studded clothing, and glistening gemstone rings. Western men were once quite likely to don themselves with decorations to boast their wealth, power, status, and, of course, to make themselves more attractive.

The Great Male Renunciation

After looking at men in history through a modern lens, you may be wondering when men decided to dull down their style. Inspired by the enlightenment and republicanism, men of the mid 18th century were socially pressured to “abandon his claim to be considered beautiful,” instead opting only to be useful. You may remember the popular rhyme, “Yankee Doodle,” in which the man placed a feather in his cap and called it macaroni. The song’s lyrics and the term “macaroni” are examples of how men were mocked for pursuing beauty and fashion culturally. While we’ve become so used to men wearing black, gray, or blue, abandoning colors, patterns, and accessories, hearing about the history of men being pressured to give up their desire to decorate themselves is rather disheartening. Thankfully, many modern style icons are changing the cultural norms once again for men.

A New Age.. Or A Return To Ways Of Old

Gone are the days of men being limited to showing their style and wealth with only a watch. Goldsmiths’ Company recently told BBC Culture that they’re changing their lines and marketing to respond to a change in men’s fashion behavior. They said that men are spending more time on themselves and decorating themselves with more than watches. Men in the hip-hop world abandoned the “male practicality” styles of old long ago, sporting heavy gold chains and adorning themselves with precious metals and gemstones. Borrowing their motivations from the great men of history, their fashion choices are often motivated by a show of wealth and status.

Male style icons like Timothee Chalamet, Chadwick Boseman, Russell Brand, and Harry Styles are changing social tendencies as well. Timothee is often seen wearing bracelets, necklaces, and rings. Chadwick, who we associate with the macho role in Black Panther, wore a beautiful floral diamond brooch on the red carpet. Russell and Harry are fans of beaded jewelry, the former often exhibiting his eclectic tastes with layers of necklaces and bracelets. The time for men’s adventurous style choices to be applauded is a now. Embrace your personality and style with Kamea Men’s Premium Islandwear Wrist Apparel.

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