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OTHER ITA SITES:
A New Outlook on Men's Jewelry
These days, much cultural conversation surrounds the trends of today's well-groomed man. Sophisticated and cosmopolitan, such a gentleman appreciates the finer things in life and that includes jewelry. Therefore, it is no surprise that men's jewelry is approaching center stage in the fashion world, according to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).
Jewelry design experts predict men's jewelry is not just a passing fad. In fact, designers and retailers are devoting more time, energy, attention, and store space to men's jewelry than ever before. Gone are the days when cuff links and watches were all that was available for men. While these stylish standards remain a big part of today�s selection, there are also now earrings, rings, bracelets, necklaces, and pendants to choose from.
Indeed, men�s fashion is becoming more varied, with men themselves making purchases and becoming more conscious of their style and the image they project. Bracelets for instance, have become almost as common as watches, thanks to new, masculine designs made of wood, shell and alternative metals, ranging from gold and platinum to anodized aluminum. Designers are mixing and matching materials into fashionable items that work with corporate looks as well as more casual ensembles. The versatility of stainless steel, titanium and tungsten carbide designs continues to emerge as a selling point.
"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,� said jewelry design instructors for GIA.
According to historians in GIA�s library, the contemporary emergence of men�s jewelry is not an isolated phenomenon. Early monarchs and noblemen wore extravagantly bejeweled items �clothes lavished with diamonds, pearls, and gold buttons; fashionable pearl stickpins; ornamental timepieces; ornate diamond necklaces; and swords set with decorative gemstones.
Men today are showing the same desire to show their identity to the world, and they are often at ease and confident enough to wear a watch with a bracelet, necklace, or ring. As more varied forms of jewelry have become socially acceptable for them, new questions arise such as, what kind of jewelry do modern men want? What catches the modern man�s eye? How can these masculine styles appeal to the modern woman?
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 classic tradition in women�s pieces � are being incorporated with leather for a sensuous, but strong male touch. Also, white gold and black rubber is an emerging combination seen in bracelets and necklaces for men.
With men�s jewelry flourishing, cufflinks are more popular than ever. Classic designs in gold, silver or platinum are always a big hit for the conservative businessman. Handcrafted designer silver cufflinks paired with a matching pendant creates an elegant blend of contemporary masculinity. 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. Men do not have to be professional athletes or billboard musicians to wear earrings these days. Handcrafted designer pieces in silver or platinum can create an elegant blend of contemporary masculinity for any man. Even a diamond stud can be the perfect accessory 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 can also be combined with a leather cord for a nouveau bracelet or necklace. Some designers are even setting diamonds into stainless steel pieces. Of course, any diamond purchased should come with a GIA grading report, which gives details of the quality of the diamond based on the Four Cs: Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat weight.
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