A History Of Jewellery For Men

When people think about designer jewellery, they often picture women wearing feminine, delicate pieces. However, there is also a world of trinkets out there for men. The fact is, men have worn decorative items like this throughout history, and many modern males are switching back onto the idea of accessorising with men’s jewellery.


Anyone keen to find out more about this topic can head to the Museum of London. On October 8th, it opened a special photographic exhibition called Tomfoolery, which offers an insight into men and their trinkets. Entry is free.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, the exhibition’s curator Beatrice Behlen revealed that she has spent the last few months “looking obsessively at men’s hands, necks and occasionally their ears”. She added: “I almost missed a bus staring at sovereign, signet and keeper rings in the window of a Bethnal Green pawn shop. And I have developed a strange obsession with identity bracelets. In short, I have been slowly sucked into the world of male jewellery (or ‘Tomfoolery’ to Cockneys). And what a different world it is.”

Whereas women tend to mix and match their jewellery as they see fit, male jewellery seems to be governed by a “myriad of rules”, the expert claimed. For example, in 1860, Cecil B. Hartley advised men never to wear jewels for ‘mere ornament’, but instead to let their trinkets have some use.

According to Ms Behlen, functionality, whether genuine or pretend, appears to dominate male jewellery.

This may be why male earrings have never really caught on, despite the efforts of high-profile figures like David Beckham and, somewhat further back in time, Sir Walter Raleigh. Meanwhile, “Shakespeare thought nothing of putting a gold sleeper in his left ear”, Ms Behlen noted, and Charles I was painted wearing a smooth pearl drop.

However, she added: “Sadly the 17th century was the last time the male earring would be accepted in polite society for several hundred years. After all, it is hard to ascribe any sort of practical use to a bauble dangling from your earlobe.”

Now, men with a penchant for fashion jewellery often don a combination of watches, rings, necklaces and bracelets and many of these serve as reminders of a period in their lives, an event or a person, rather than being “pure fashion accessories”, the curator suggested.

Regardless of the type of jewellery they are after and what it represents to them, men can how head online to make their purchases. This is a quick and convenient method of shopping and it allows consumers to take their pick form a broad selection of times.

Also, with winter on the way, being able to shop from the comfort of their homes or offices may be especially appealing to consumers. Rather than traipsing along the high street in cold conditions, shoppers can peruse their options while they are cosy and warm indoors.

Meanwhile, with the festive season rapidly approaching, many people may be seeking out jewellery as gifts for others rather than as treats for themselves.

About the Author – Anna is a regular contributor to lifestyle blogs and loves stocking up on fabulous new items of jewellery. Find out where she gets her inspiration by visiting Acotis Jewellery.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *