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People have new perspective on men's jewelry


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With all the cultural conversation of today's "metrosexual" man — well-groomed, sophisticated, and cosmopolitan — it's no wonder that men's jewelry is approaching center stage in the fashion world.

Jewelry design experts at the Gemological Institute of America say men's jewelry is not just a passing fad. In fact, designers and retailers are devoting more time, attention, and store space to men's jewelry than ever before.

Men today are demonstrating increasing fashion sophistication among themselves.

They are undoubtedly more comfortable wearing jewelry — non-wedding rings, necklaces, and bracelets, for instance — than their fathers were, according to jewelry design instructors for the GIA, where students from all over the world learn to design and manufacture jewelry.

The emergence of men's jewelry is not a recent phenomenon, say historians in the GIA's library. Early monarchs and noblemen wore extravagantly bejeweled items — clothes lavished with diamonds, pearls, and gold buttons. Men today are showing the same desire to want to show their identity to the world, and they're at ease and confident enough to complement a watch with a bracelet, necklace or ring. And now more varied forms of jewelry have become socially acceptable for them.

But what kind of jewelry do modern men want? GIA design experts say old and new styles are merging. Recognizably masculine pieces are being paired with a fresh, feminine twist, and designers are taking advantage of the growing trend of genderless fashions. Soft and lustrous Tahitian pearls — a tradition in women's pieces — are being incorporated with leather for a sensuous male touch. White gold and rubber is an emerging combination seen in bracelets and necklaces for men.

Cufflinks are more popular than ever.

Classic designs in gold, silver or platinum are always a big hit for the conservative businessman. Integrating diamonds, black onyx, malachite, garnets, rubies or sapphires represents a novel departure for the sophisticated man who likes to match accessories with his attire.

And men don't have to be professional athletes or rock stars to wear earrings these days. Handcrafted designer pieces in silver or platinum can create an elegant blend of contemporary masculinity. A diamond stud is perfect for a night out on the town.

The attractiveness of stainless steel, most prominently seen in the watch segment, has found its way into fine jewelry for men. It has the same high-polish appearance of platinum — and the durability — but is much more affordable. Stainless steel and other metals, such as silver and titanium, are gaining popularity in rings.

Chain necklaces are designed for an industrial, manly look. Steel pendants also can be combined with a leather cord for a nouveau bracelet or necklace. Some designers are even setting diamonds into stainless steel pieces.

Any diamond purchased should come with a GIA grading report that gives details of the quality of the diamond based on the Four Cs — cut, color, clarity and carat weight. For more information about these topics, visit the GIA at www.gia.edu.

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