Men’s jewellery is a problem of Aladdin’s cave-sized proportions. Brash gold pieces – thick bands, chains and the like – historically speaking connote power: Egyptian pharaohs, Neapolitan mafiosos, the sort that lord it over subjugated peasants forced to do their bidding.
On the flipside, attempts to dial down dictator vibes run the risk of emasculating your look – because, of course, only girls do delicate.
But there are ways of walking the line between the two. Get to know the metals that work for you and swerve striking for subtle and you’ll own pieces that’ll bolster your outfit without landing you in the realm of Essex ex-cons and United players.
Don’t believe us? Step aside, Mario Balotellis of the world – here’s the jewellery any man can wear. (Yes, even you.)
Seal The Deal
Believe it or not, signet rings were a thing before Made In Chelsea brats burst onto our screens. Typically worn on the pinky and passed down from father to son, signet rings often feature seal engravings like your initials or the family crest.
But many of today’s signet rings aren’t about wearing your Oxbridge affiliations on your finger, so much as simply exuding an air of prestige. After all, everybody wants to channel their own noble streak – even if your inheritance doesn’t amount to more than a share of a three-bed semi-detached in Somerset.
London-based Rebus is one of the few labels solely dedicated to signet rings. In addition to taking commissions for unique pieces, it offers a ready-to-wear collection at a fraction of the bespoke price tag.
Available at Rebus, priced from £190.
Discover The Cuff
Many men scoff at the suggestion of a bracelet – those dazzling bejeweled offerings that look more Dubai luxe than down-the-pub fare. A minimal cuff however, has a slightly more universal, masculine appeal.
Take this Allison Bryan iteration, for example. Not only will it sit well with both a T-shirt and a shirt, its two black diamonds give it a subtle of point of difference without channelling the Sultan of Brunei.
Just shy of half a grand, the cost might seem steep but 9-carat yellow gold and diamonds don’t come cheap. Plus, it’s worth the outlay if it means there’ll be no tell-tale green smudges to outlive you. And whoever inherits your jewellery box.
Available at Allison Bryan, priced £410.
- Alexander Mcqueen Double Skull Cuff
- All Blues Pyramid Silver Bracelet
- Maison Margiela 11 Logo Bracelet
- Peyote Bird Karl Nataani Sterling Silver And Turquoise Cuff
- Le Gramme Le 15 Brushed 18-karat Rose Gold Cuff
- Miansai Gold-plated Screw Cuff
Put A Clip On It
The art of acing tailoring is no longer a secret. From the Oscars to The Only Way Is Essex, we’re given an almost daily masterclass on how (and how not to) suit up. Looking distinguished is easy – we’ve got plenty of examples. But looking distinguishable from others? Not so much.
Which is where the finer details in formalwear come in. Like Lanvin’s rhodium-plated tie clip. Featuring a genuine square-shaped onyx as its centrepiece, it’s a shining example of how choice accessories can propel a smart look from average to outstanding.
Remember: everyone will be on a suit-and-tie flex at the next wedding, but only the very best dressed stand a chance with the bridesmaids.
Available from MatchesFashion, priced £75.
- Mulberry Silver-tone Tie Bar
- Kingsman + Deakin & Francis Rose Gold-plated Sterling Silver Tie Clip
- Gucci Interlocking G Sterling Silver Tie Clip
- Paul Smith Multi-stripe Tie Clip
- Tateossian Black Agate And Silver Tie Clip
- Eton Steel Wire Tie Bar
No Chain, No Gain
Mankind, rejoice: gold chains are no longer the sole preserve of 1990s-era rappers, drug dealers and 16-year-olds with Argos vouchers. Now, you too can don your own lace of luxury without suffering a stop-and-search.
But there are rules to follow. Firstly, you’ll want to choose a lightweight, slender chain – nothing Mr T-titanic. Not only will it be subtle enough to work with most looks, but you can easily tuck it away underneath a shirt on the occasions it’s not welcome.
Secondly, accept no imitation. While top-grade quality – and carats – require loosening the purse strings, genuine gold or silver from a respectable jeweller will outlast any cheaper alternatives, without being confronted with that dreaded green smudge.
NB: Unless you’re appearing on DJ Khaled’s latest album, don’t even think about diamonds.
Available from Ernest Jones, priced £250.
- Monica Vinader Alta Sterling Silver Box Chain
- Links Of London Silver Mini Belchernecklace
- 9ct Gold Curb Necklaces
- 9ct Yellow Gold 22 Curb Chain Necklace
- Stainless Steel 20 Square Link Chain Necklace
- 9ct Yellow 18 Gold Anchor Chain
Like tie clips, cufflinks are usually black tie or boardroom fare. But there’s a bigger margin for error when it comes to buying the latter.
Novelty (read: crap) styles can often be mistaken for something ‘fun’ or ‘unique’ and those Lamborghini cufflinks are only for advisors celebrating the fact that they’ve duped a financially strapped couple into a mortgage they probably can’t afford.
The other pitfall is quality. Many of the big designers offer gold or silver-tinted paint that couldn’t be further from a precious metal, yet you still pay the price tag. Not so with Kasun London, whose stake cufflinks avoid tacky territory and feature materials that justify the cost: 925 sterling silver, 18-carat gold plating and pure onyx accents. Ka-ching.
Available from Kasun London, priced £289.
- Montblanc Iconic Swivel Star Cufflinks
- Title Of Work Volcanic Stone And Sterling-silver Cufflinks
- Dunhill Ad Ellipse Cufflinks
- Kingsman + Deakin & Francis Rose Gold-plated Sterling Silver Cufflinks
- Lanvin Rhodium-plated Sodalite Cufflinks
- Alice Made This Matthew Brass Cufflinks
Watch And Learn
Chains and cuffs face criticism from menswear purists, yet a dress watch seems to be universally acceptable. Which is odd, considering it’s basically a bracelet. Think the pull of your Patek is any different to the allure of your girlfriend’s Tiffany’s bracelet? Think again.
Watches, being jewellery, should be bought with the same priorities in mind as when you’re shopping for chains and cuffs. Is it classic? Is it well crafted? Will it look good in 10 years?
The IWC Portofino Hand Wound is the perfect example. It doesn’t come cheap, but prestige pieces from the old Swiss manufactures are more heirlooms than accessories. If it ends up on your kid’s kid’s wrist, then it’s safe to say you’ve nailed the cost-per-wear ratio.
Available from The Watch Gallery, priced £7,990.