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The Evolution Of Men's Jewelry

May 15, 2008
The art of jewelry design has roots that date as far back to the prehistoric times. As evidenced by prehistoric cave paintings and carvings, primitive people used animal horns, tusks, feathers, shells and colored pebbles to adorn themselves. It is probable that early forms of jewelry even preceded any type of clothing. Over the years, the materials for the art of jewelry-making have grown to include precious metals and gem stones, which, today, continue to be vastly popular and sought after.

Jewelry has always been a symbol of power and wealth for men and women alike. The tombs of ancient kings and queens of the Sumerians, Egyptians, Aegeans, Phoenicians, Etruscans, Greeks and Romans were over-flowing with all types of jewels. The legendary tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamen revealed a vast array of bejeweled gold crowns, necklaces, earrings, amulets, pendants, bracelets and rings all carefully crafted to such a high state of refinement that it is difficult, if not impossible, to find pieces that would equal their beauty in all the history of jewelry.

During the Middle Ages and through the 15th and 16th centuries of the Renaissance era, jewelry remained equally associated with both the male and female sexes. However, during the 17th century, the trend for male adornment weakened. This can probably be attributed to the fact that jewelry designers began adopting floral and feminine themes in their work. The last king documented to have heavily used jewelry was Louis XIV. His personal jeweler, Gilles Legare, designed for the king robes completely covered with precious and semi-precious gemstones.

Since then, men stayed away from the excessive use of jewelry as this became women's territory. Men have limited themselves to the barest essentials: watches and, when called for, wedding rings. However, this tradition, much to the delight of jewelry designers, proved to be no match for the recent rise of the Metrosexual Man.

Contemporary society's relatively easy acceptance of metrosexuality has changed the meaning of masculinity. The broadening of the definition of masculinity has given men more and more willingness to venture into areas that used to be closely associated with women, and this, of course, includes the use of jewelry for adornment.

Today's designers, quick to notice this shift in the public's outlook, have come up with an extensive selection of jewelry for men. This includes earrings, cufflinks, bracelets, tie slides, necklaces, pendants, dog tags, rings and collar stiffeners. The use of pure titanium, titanium alloy and steel in place of gold and silver has recently been growing in popularity in the world of jewelry design.

The shift to titanium and stainless steel in men's jewelry design has proven to be a wise choice, as men seem to be partial to jewelry made with these materials. This acceptance is due to a number or reasons. They are less expensive than pieces made with the conventional precious metals. Titanium and stainless steel have a high degree of durability, and in comparison with gold and silver jewelry, they exude a more masculine air.
About the Author
2008 Jason Tye. Jason Tye is the webmaster and owner of the mens jewellery emporium - homme rock, specializing in quality, designer jewelry, including dog tags for men.
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