Men's jewellery has a rich and diverse history that spans across civilisations and epochs. From ancient adornments to modern trends, men have been using jewellery to signify their status, express their style, and convey their stories for millennia. In this journey through time, we'll explore the fascinating history of men's jewellery and the evolution of its significance.
Men's jewellery has ancient origins dating back to the dawn of civilisation. In prehistoric times, men adorned themselves with necklaces made of bones, shells, and stones. These early forms of jewellery were not only decorative but also served practical purposes, such as protection or identification within a group.
One of the most iconic examples of early men's jewellery comes from ancient Egypt. Egyptian men wore intricate collars and pectorals, often made of gold and featuring precious gemstones. These pieces represented not only wealth and power but also had spiritual and protective significance. Scarab amulets, for instance, symbolised rebirth and protection.
Roman Signet Rings
The Romans had a penchant for rings, particularly signet rings. These rings bore engraved insignia, family crests, or other symbols of significance. They were not only stylish but also served as a seal for correspondence and documents.
Medieval Knightly Virtue
During the Middle Ages, knights adorned themselves with armour and chain-mail, but they also wore rings and pendants to showcase their chivalry. These pieces often bore religious symbols or served as tokens of courtly love.
The Renaissance era marked a period of opulence and artistic innovation. Men's jewellery became more elaborate, with brooches, chains, and rings adorned with intricate designs and gemstones. The well-dressed gentleman of the time considered jewellery a symbol of status and refinement.
In the Victorian era, men's jewellery took on a more sentimental tone. Mourning rings and lockets became popular, bearing inscriptions and containing hair or photographs of loved ones. Additionally, fob watches and watch chains were must-have accessories for the well-dressed Victorian man.
The 20th Century Death of Men's Jewellery
The 1900s brought a huge decline in men wearing jewellery, with only watches and rings being acceptable attire. The main reasons were recession, world wars and the mostly industrial workplace, following the industrial revolution.
Thankfully, men's jewellery started to make a comeback with George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley of Wham daring to wear hoop earrings. The 80s pop culture quickly adopted the new rebelliousness with a passion, and with the start of the rap culture, men's jewellery was back in full swing.
Today, men's jewellery comes in a vast array of styles and materials and there's not a part of our body we don't put it on. Well, maybe one. It's a great time for men's jewellery and expressing yourself in any way you want to with it.
Watch for it. Men's brooches are making a comeback. They are appearing more and more on pop and movie stars.