Before COVID-19, it seemed like men’s jewelry might be finding a way, at last, to become a bona fide thing.
Jake Gyllenhaal was running around New York City in a flashy gold chain. Harry Styles was making pearls chic (the Jonas Brothers also jumped on the pearl bandwagon). Gucci Mane wore a double strand of diamonds to the 2020 Grammy Awards. And chunky gold rings were suddenly everywhere, and not just on Johnny Depp.
Would the red carpet wave—coupled with growing consumer demand for fashion that obliterates traditional gender lines—help men’s jewelry become a viable consumer category beyond watches and wedding rings?
With a lack of high-profile events during the pandemic, the category’s momentum slowed. But now that the economy has reopened, and our collective desire to be aggressively out in the world (spending, spending, spending!) has been established, men’s jewelry is once again poised to trend upward.
A recent report on the state of watches and jewelry authored by Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Co. said that though men’s fine jewelry sales account for only 5–10% of the global market, and wedding bands continue to make up the majority of sales, male consumers represent “an opportunity for brands to capture share in a relatively uncrowded market driven by increasingly genderless aesthetics and high-profile celebrity influencers, particularly in Asia.”
Many high-profile brands have anticipated the growth, and have debuted men’s and genderless collections to capture the coming spend. Kendra Scott debuted its first-ever men’s collection, Scott Bros. by Kendra Scott, last month, and Graziela introduced a men’s series in May.
Jacquie Aiche added a men’s line last year, and told JCK’s Brittany Siminitz, “Whether it’s a single gold chain or a stack of gemstone beaded bracelets, I’ve found that more and more men are opening up to trying new layers.” Contemporary jewelry brand Misho debuted its first-ever men’s collection, featuring classic chains, beaded bracelets, pearl and zodiac necklaces, and signet rings, just yesterday.
And retailers have been experiencing the demand firsthand. Sean Dunn, co-owner of J.R. Dunn Jewelers in Lighthouse Point, Fla., says “we are definitely seeing an uptick in higher-end. Obviously watches are off the charts, but we also have been selling one-of-a-kind men’s rings created by our award-winning designer, Robert Pelliccia, with unique shapes and colored center stones. Link chains have also been quite strong.”
He adds, “I think there is plenty of room for growth in men’s fine jewelry, it’s just finding the right inventory or the time to fabricate in-house. Men’s jewelry is part of our mission this year when we go to the [Las Vegas] shows.”
Debbie Fox, owner of Fox Fine Jewelry in Ventura, Calif., has increased her inventory of men’s jewelry recently—“mostly bracelets and necklaces in chain and leather,” she says. And while the category still comprises a small slice of the store’s business, she notes, “This is the beginning of a cultural shift of men adorning themselves. They have choices beyond the traditional ‘masculine’ looks.”
That choice is key. Coming out of COVID-19, the national mood could be summed up with one word: YOLO, internet shorthand for “you only live once.” For men, women, and nonbinary individuals alike, it’s the perfect moment to shed archaic rules, don a sweet new gold chain or signet ring, and get out there.
Top: A campaign image from Misho for its new men’s jewelry collection (photo courtesy of Misho)
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