When it comes to diamonds, the focus has mostly been on women in modern times. Diamonds, after all, are a girl’s best friend. Once reserved for royalty and the wealthy, the diamond ring has been the symbol of a man’s love for a woman in mainstream society for over half a century. However, with changing social mores, and particularly the striving for gender equality in Western culture, diamonds and jewelry are more and more becoming the domain of men.
Real Men Wear Diamond Engagement Rings
Recent diamond trends include what’s known as the “mangagement” ring. We’re not yet talking about large diamonds; for example, the UK singer superstar Ed Sheeran has famously been wearing his mangagement ring, a simple silver band, prompting the question whether more British men will be inspired to wear their own engagement rings. According to a study by The Knot a few years ago, around 5% of men were already wearing engagement rings. What’s more, the jeweler H. Samuel released the Tioro men’s engagement ring in 2010. So the “mangagement” is not really a new trend, however, with time, it seems to be catching on.
He Needs No Excuse to Wear a Diamond
It’s not just engagements that are getting men to wear diamonds. Diamonds are an expensive and desirable commodity; owning and wearing diamonds is a clear show of status. Think of the bling worn by rappers, or check out this gallery of breathtaking diamond-encrusted watches for men. The diamond watch combines many of the aesthetic and technological aspirations that men have, and nothing says sophistication and masculinity like a bold, expensive timepiece.
Men’s jewelry has risen in popularity in recent years, fueled largely by millenials, who are the largest buyers of jewelry for men. Between 2012 and 2017, global sales in men’s jewelry rose by 22%. The most popular men’s jewelry is rings, followed by necklaces. Some attribute the men’s jewelry trend to social media. In a highly visual Instagram generation, jewelry has become an important fashion statement and style differentiator for men.
In his new book Jewelry For Gentlemen, author James Sherwood explores the men’s jewelry revival in the 21st century, which is in many ways a reimagining of trends from times past. For example, while men wearing earrings was “comedic or common” even just 20 years ago, today, thanks to the influence of celebrities and sportsmen, a diamond stud is considered a sign of elegance for black tie occasions. When it comes to men and jewelry, don’t underestimate the effects of fashion-forward male celebrities, like David Beckham, Will Smith, and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Sports and Diamonds: A Match Made on the Playing Field
If you thought that men’s jewelry reflected a feminizing trend, you might be surprised to hear about the famous footballers who are flaunting all kinds of diamond jewelry, from studs (both ears!), to necklaces, and watches.
Diamonds are a commentary on social status. Living with sky high salaries and nonstop paparazzi, for the modern celebrity athlete, diamond jewelry is certainly a way to show off both money and style.
Another example is Super Bowl rings, which are are loaded with diamonds. The Super Bowl ring is a trophy for the winning team, symbolizing their shared victory. The more diamonds, the more valuable and desirable. The Steelers, for example, added a diamond to each subsequent ring. So the more Super Bowls won, the more bling-y the ring.
The notion that diamonds and jewelry are a “women’s thing” is no more than a notion. It may seem counterintuitive, however men have a long history with diamonds, gemstones and jewelry, from jeweled crowns and scepters, to cuff links, tie pins, and signet rings. Despite the fact that in contemporary times, jewelry has been mainly designed for women, new trends in men’s jewelry are bringing the industry back to its historical roots. Like love and marriage, men and jewelry in fact do go together like a horse and carriage.