A History of Men's Jewelry

 

Going back as far as 10000 BC, people used things like teeth, claws, fangs, and other natural materials to make jewelry, and often adorned by men as a status symbol. As time progressed, Some of these pieces displayed a specific significance to the wearer or even held more symbolic meaning. Even with today's more modern take on men's jewelry, you can still feel the aura of thousands of years of men's fashion and an array of unique customs.

The Ancient Jewelry of Men

Ancient Kings wore luminescent pearls around their necks. Renaissance men and sailors often displayed fashionable earrings. Pirates even were known to wear hoop earrings navigating the rough waters of the sea. Hundreds of years ago, gold, pearls, and gemstones were highly respected and considered signs of prosperity and wealth. In fact, on average, men have put on a considerable amount more jewelry in the past than they do now

King Tut was buried with six pairs of earrings and hundreds of precious gemstones. Imagine a 16th-century monarch covered with shining crimson rubies, sparkling necklaces, and golden rings on every finger. 

Picture a proud native Cherokee chief shielded in colorful, elaborate beads, turquoise, and garnets. In Asia, India, Africa, and worldwide, men have and continue to accessorize whether to display some significant meaning or be a new trendy fashion choice

Men's jewelry has a long and elaborate history, a history that continues to grow and evolve as time passes.

 Egyptian Bangle

The Role of Male Jewelry and Accessories

Archaeological studies and historical finds have helped us map out the history of men's jewelry worldwide. But there is still a lot that can be learned about its role. All that can be said is that the more civilized society becomes and the more resources available to them, the more importance is vested in the need to accessorize. In the past, Animal bones and stones served as totems or indicators of tribes and clans

Some men in these clans wore claws and fangs from their hunts as a sign of being a strong warrior. Shamans, priests, and even royalty were covered in jewelry all over from their heads to their feet. 

Servants of the Gods actually had a belief that certain forms and materials contribute to the connection with some form of a higher power. This connection then progressed into the wealthiest people of ancient states having the most expensive jewelry. Still today, men's jewelry displays wealth and prosperity. 

Jewelry can also be used as a fashion opportunity or to express one's true individual self. The successful rapper and musician Rick Ross has a gold chain worth over 1 million dollars. 

Related: Ways to Wear Jewerly Like a Celebrity

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Men's Jewelry Worn around the Neck and Head

Nowadays, traditional men dress in necklaces and bracelets according to practicality, relevance, and personal choice. Days of the over-the-top jewel-encrusted crown status symbol and elaborate headdresses are about extinct. 

However, necklaces have not lessened in popularity with males. In ancient Egypt, a pharaoh would have pendants in the form of the sun or scarab beetle. Vikings with their runes, animal and ax-shaped medallions. 

Today, the more modern male might prefer a simpler gold chain or pendant around their neck. Necklaces with natural stones are also trending, which is jewelry everyone can enjoy and benefit from. 

 A man's wrist with two chain bracelets.

Men's Rings

Jewelers in the olden days were not capable of using mass-production machines, so each piece was always hand-made and one-of-a-kind. This unique quality was reflected by utilizing "signets" as a personal seal for every piece

On occasion, archers would protect their fingers with rings when shooting a bow in battle or hunt. Royalties would wear numerous amounts of expensive hand jewelry to represent their wealth. Then, of course, there is the tradition of the wedding ring that continues today. Or giving out as a gesture of thanks and gratitude for your service.  

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Men’s Wedding Bands

Men Also Wear Earrings

Earrings haven't lessened in popularity with men. Today, there are gauges of all sizes, studs, and hoops for men to choose from. Of course, now it is more served as a decorative item or trendy accessory. Our ancestors used earrings as more of a symbol or award like when:

 

  • A new sailor had the privilege to put on a ring after he first crossed over the equator. 
  • Middle Eastern men pierced their ears because they believed that it could help to improve vision.
  • Riflemen and soldiers have used earrings to save their hearing in battle. They attached wax plugs to the earrings.
  • If a pirate was to shore and passed away, earrings served as a funeral fee on the land.
  • Rings today are given as awards or for winning sports championships. Even in careers and schooling, rings are given as mementos.

Men's Jewelry Today

No matter who you are, adding some accessories can amp up your style while both serving a meaning and a purpose. There are really no set rules in jewelry, and you are in no way limited by anything other than your imagination

While Vikings and Spartans might have protected their bodies with bracelet-like bands, men today wear bracelets for other reasons. To keep that honor and culture with us and embrace the memories of times long gone.

Men also wear symbolic or engraved jewelry to show a significant other they care, and ornamenting your body meant so much in the past and is still relevant today.

Related: Choosing the Right Annaversary Jewelry

Conclusion

We are an empty canvas. When we live, when we dress, we can show a bit of ourselves in every piece. Like jewelry, we are unique and diverse, especially men. And men spanning the age of time have expressed themselves by wearing it. 

Okay, men, there are no rules. Go natural! Be simplistic or go crazy. Keep it casual or elegant! Be strong and fierce! Wear jewelry that serves your purpose and makes you feel good. 

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