Researching men’s jewellery for Valentine’s Day used to be challenging. Few jewellers were keen to explore this segment of the market and most men could not be convinced to think beyond watches and perhaps cufflinks. Our efforts to show beautiful men’s jewels were often met with scepticism and an assumption that what was seen on models was not for real-life men.
This was clearly yesterday. More and more designers have broken free and let their inspiration take them far beyond the usual chunky chains, dog tags and base metals. Today more and more men are getting into stacking rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings and mixing and matching styles, stones and metals. With so much to choose from, here is my selection of monochrome jewels for men that caught my eye. The trend for stylish men's jewellery is set to be strong this Valentine’s Day and beyond.
For a fun interpretation of the skeleton often seen in men’s jewellery, check out the Skeledeo necklace with its black lava hand-carved cameo head by Amedeo. Known for his distinctive two-layer cameos using the traditional technique of the Napolitan cameo carvers, Amedeo Scognamiglio was taught the art of carving cameos at an early age by his family. This lanky little skeleton in blackened silver with its crooked diamond crown and its big, astonished eyes can be worn as a necklace or bracelet.
If you are looking to add a spiritual dimension to your gift, select the Ultimate Protection necklace by Shamballa Jewels. The Danish fine jewellery brand is well known for its gold beads bracelet strung together by the ancient macramé technique, as seen on many famous wrists. Mad and Mikkel Kornerup, the founding brothers, have been making understated fine jewellery with meaning and soul for more than 15 years. The three icons on the necklace are set with black diamonds and made of black rhodium-plated gold to give its wearer protection and strength.
Called “My very first necklace” by Messika, this one is a no-brainer if you are looking for an unpretentious necklace with a twist. The innovative “move” setting technique allows the diamond to slide up and down the rectangle's aperture in the white gold frame.
If you want to surprise him with an audacious look, pick this flexible, thin but bold bracelet by Fernando Jorge. Once again, the award-winning Brazilian designer astonishes us with the strength of his fluid creations. In this bracelet, a double white gold chain splits to skirt undulating islands of diamonds. If you are looking for a cuff, the slip-on Possession bracelet by Piaget is decorated with white diamonds and ceramic cabochons. The hinged Sabre bracelet by Shaun Leane has a discreet mechanism hidden at the back and two tapered points with black diamonds encircle the wrist.
For an understated design with no gems and an intriguing texture, take a look at the Macri ring by Buccellati. It is entirely engraved by hand with their signature Rigato pattern that is composed of thin lines so closely packed that no gold is left untouched. For a bit of extravagance you might like the sterling silver skull ring by David Yurman sprinkled with black diamonds and sapphires.
If he loves stacking earrings, consider adding the horn charm earring to his collection. You can’t go wrong with Brazilian jeweller Ara Vartanian, an early trend setter for daring men’s jewels. The creamy charm suspended on a white gold hook is set with black diamonds and amazonite. Another interesting idea is the single earring which can be worn as a simple diamond stud or with the addition of the black gold geometric pendant (above) by Eéra. Founded a few years ago by Milan-based millennial Chiara Capitani and Romy Blanga, each jewel includes a snap hook, as found on carabiner clips, making every piece versatile and easy to change around.
If your heart is set on a watch, have a look at the Octo Roma World Timer by Bulgari. The distinctive octagonal timekeeper has a new in-house made movement that tells the time in 24 cities. With a black sandblasted stainless-steel case and a textured rubber strap, it gives a completely new look to this model launched in 2012. If you favour a rectangular shape, the Reverso by Jaeger-LeCoultre is what you should be looking at. It became an icon soon after it launched in 1931 so it is a tried and tested classic. And you might want to commission the in-house engraver to inscribe a secret message, picture or a favourite object on the hidden side of the case. If he is a rugby fan, the new S300 RFU by Bremont will make him happy. The English brand is celebrating its renewed partnership with the Rugby Football Union with this limited edition of 150 pieces featuring a closed case back stamped with ‘England Rugby – Twickenham’ around the iconic England rose.
For a complete monochrome look, pick the sterling silver cufflinks by Stephen Webster featuring enamel work around a central sapphire or select the round button-like cufflinks in hammered blackened gold by Carolina Bucci.