Style / October 2016

Chain Reaction: America and the Rise of Rakish Man-Jewellery

The Rake examines America’s rich culture and how they have laid the foundations of the current surge in trend of ‘Man Jewellery’.

The Rake is not the greatest advocates of trends, they come and go but in our book, true style is a permanent fixture on the calendar. Even so, everyone should allow himself some leeway in life, enjoy exceptions that prove the rule and consider trends when they hold the promise of turning into a more long-lasting part of fashionable discourse. The current rise of luxury ‘man jewellery’, which no doubt is destined to stay with us, is one of them. Yet, accessorising with bling hasn't always been generally accepted in stylish circles, and only recently in the last 15 years or so has it moved to the forefront of the fashionable zeitgeist. Now an established sartorial staple, it has officially become cool to express yourself, add character to your ensemble and reflect your subversive side with rakish jewellery.

Luxury, handcrafted men’s jewellery certainly seems to be in ascendance, with a variety of different popular styles, mediums and aesthetics across the style-spectrum — all of which can be traced back to a moment in time when they were the preserve of only a few. America’s extraordinary cultural heritage (which The Rake is celebrating this month) have informed almost all of these prevailing aesthetics. Now male consumers are harking back to the coolest American subcultures inspiration, but more importantly, they're trying to find jewellery meaning and a material connection.

"In the last 15 years or so has it moved to the forefront of the fashionable zeitgeist."

The Native Americans, who inhabited large parts of the southern states of the US where large mineral and raw material deposits are mined, were excellent innovators and industrialists who made use of their earthly surroundings to make jewellery for all manner of purposes, primarily spiritual ones. The gemstone Turquoise — which is largely found in the southern states, has always been ‘on trend’ — is more common in women’s jewellery, but has become a frequent sight on men too; embedded in bracelets, pendants and rings. The Native Americans believed Turquoise had prophylactic purposes, as well as being a holy stone that brings fortunate, general wellbeing and security. This belief has no doubt passed through the ages, and its placebo effect is not only marketable, but also thanks to the stone’s unique depth of colour, men are now buying into it whether inlayed into a sterling-silver bracelet, chain or ring for example, it’s become a tool to express one’s individuality, spirituality and cosmopolitan style.

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Benedict Browne

Benedict is The Rake's Associate Style Editor.