Gender Bias Jewelry

Lately, I have been looking for more jewelry out there for men, such
as contemporary designs, brooches for the jacket of a lapel, or
unique buttons.

I have been to 11 SNAG conferences and see GREAT looking jewelry on

So the question is for you men out there. How many of you men wear

If you do, what do you wear?

If you don’t, why not?

Karen Christians
10 Walnut St.
Woburn, MA 01801
Ph: 781 937 3532
Fx: 781 937 3955
email: @Karen_Christians
Board Member of SNAG

Karen, The only Jewelry that I wear is a wedding ring. I think the
main reason that I don’t wear anything else is because I haven’t
really thought about it. So now that you mention it, I think I will
find more occasions to put on something. One the other hand, I am a
pretty casual dresser and don’t have many occasions to wear a pin on
my jacket. What looks good with a T-shirt and shorts?


So the question is for you men out there.  How many of you men
wear jewelry?  If you do, what do you wear?  If you don't, why not?

Hi Karen I don’t. For the same reason I don’t wear nice clothes: gets
dirty or gets in the way of what I’m doing. It’s just too girly.

B r i a n A d a m

What looks good with a T-shirt and shorts? 
- A nice brass necklet with bloodstone
- A heavy matte-finish agate and silver bracelet
- A thick gold torc
- A beautifully-carved piece of mammoth ivory on a leather thong
- A bracelet of mahogany tigereye chunks and gold spacers

Anybody else?

What looks good with a T-shirt and shorts? 

A leather thong around the neck with some kind of simple pendant on


Funny about making pendants for guys, where you think you draw the
line between a male design, and a female design. At least with me
anyway there is a line. I like to make a design or motif in each
direction(his and hers), for instance if it is an architectural
theme, i make the guy’s wider or rougher, geometrically, and the
female’s a little more delicate, intricately detailed. Or i would
make the guy’s pendant very overdesigned to the point of being gaudy
in an absurd way, and then try to bring the same design into a more
fashion looking, daintier thing for the woman. It is the opposite
with bracelets though, the guy needs something not so large, with
more sophistication and intricacy, whereas the woman might like some
craziness and bulk There’s not such a hard line with rings though.
Unfortunately, as a guy, i never really get to wear my designs.
maybe if i go to nyc, the met. or something,Just a poor hermit
designer with no life. dp

Karen, I wear a chain of my own work around my neck, a buckle my
father made for me when I graduated high school and 2 bracelets I
made which represent different phases of my life. If jewelry marks
points in time or freezes time and represents emotion at that point
in time, like I think it does, then that is exactly why I wear what I
wear. I would not ,for instance, make myself a bunch of pieces to
represent that point in time nor would I expect anyone to give me
pieces representing a point in time. So I wear the same pieces every
day and live in them. I have changed the bracelets over time but,
have not taken the chain off until I added a piece of turquoise to it
a few weeks ago. I love this question and it needed asking and I will
continue to think on it for a long time. Sam Patania, Tucson

Karen – My teenage nephews wear chains – around their necks and as
bracelets – except during sports events when they’re not allowed –
but no matter what else they have on, they wear their jewelry – and
they love it!! You may want to consider age a component in this
equation – my ex would always wear a ring, but never anything else.
And my dad would wear a ring and a tie tack. Neither would ever wear
chains around their necks or as bracelets (even tho I gave my ex a
great gold bracelet one time – I eventually cut it down for


Besides his wedding ring, my husband has a couple of rings that he
wears once in a while, a tie pin (present from me) that he wears on
formal occasions, and a chain he usually keeps tucked in his shirt
with a small pendant he made himself and a charm he keeps in memory
of his sister. Oh, and a nice gold watch passed down to him from
his grandfather, also worn on formal occasions. If he wore suits
more often he would wear jewelry more often, including cufflinks,
but he’s usually in jeans, t-shirt and a flannel overshirt. I think
it’s also similar to the cobbler’s children not having any shoes –
the jeweler’s husband has no jewels. ~kara

If a man is self-conscious about wearing jewelry, he won’t be able
to carry it well. On the other hand, if he’s comfortable with it,
it will become part of his persona. There are some males who look
awkward in any kind of decoration, and others who are able to wear
rings, bracelets, chains or pendants without detracting from their
manly appearance.Take a look at your Goths and Bikers. They adorn
themselves with all manner of ‘jewelry’. There are websites devoted
to it…and it doesn’t detract from their macho image. For the
white collar crowd, tie pins and lapel pins are still hanging in
there, along with signet rings, ID bracelets, classy watchbands and
fancy belt buckles. 'Many people who work with machinery avoid
jewelry for safety reasons and get used to living without it.
Somewhere in the world there is an article of jewelry that will be
acceptable to most men. Whoever finds it and capitalizes on it has
his/her future assured. Dee

Karen – I am a retired male. Since I took up cabbing in the 80s and
faceting a couple of years ago, I have occasionally worn a neck
chain with the lapidary results hanging as a pendant. I also
occasionally wear a l-1/2 inch wide sterling bracelet with a large
pseudo-faceted amethyst (I made the bracelet and cut the amethyst).
I also always wear a ring with one or more of the following

	(1) I made the (silver) ring and cut the stone.
	(2) I designed the ring made by someone else and cut the stone.
	(3) I bought the ring and faceted (or, rarely, cabbed) the stone to fit.
	(4) I bought the stone and made the (silver) ring to fit.

All jewelry that I currently wear has something about it that I

made. Any exception would be something handmade by someone else that
has some especially unique artistic aspect.


My husband wears a thick snake chain with two simple interlocking
pendants I designed, one with a small nickel-iron meteorite, and the
other with a small piece of rock from the mountain he used to climb
as a child. Until recently he wore the wedding band he had from his
first marriage, cleaned and polished at the time of out wedding. But
for our twentieth anniversary we bought him a variation of the One
Ring from Lord of the Rings, only with a love-related verse in

He sometimes sees rings that I make and thinks he might like to wear
them, but never does. His jewelry is part of him, and he doesn’t
rally want anything more.

Thank goodness some men do- I sell a fair number of men’s rings.

Janet Kofoed

My dh wears cufflinks, and loves really nice pocket watches. Other
than his wedding ring that is it. In addition to the chains, the
teenage/college aged boys around hear also wear heishi (sp?) chains
and such - both necklaces and bracelets. There really does not seem
to be much of a market in my part of the south for male
jewelry,which I personally think is a shame! In some periods of
history men were the main ones interested in fashion - both clothing
and jewelry.

Beth in SC

I made myself a large silver bracelet set with a huge (325 cts)
Cripple Creek turquoise stone. The stone was a gift from the miner
(David Grahm) so it is a sentimental thing as well as an
advertisement for my work which I’ve had interesting results with.
It draws a lot of comments but some people say they like my work but
do I do anything smaller? I also occasionally wear a couple rings
but found them unsafe to wear while I work. One time some flux got
on my finger and seeped under the a ring. I didn’t think anything of
it until about 4 hours later when I took off the ring and had a nasty
chemical burn under it that took a long time to heal.

As far as jewelry for men, recently I’ve been making a lot of
leather hatbands with set with turqouise cabs and silver. I’ve also
been doing leather bow guards (wrist bands) set with turquoise. Of
course belt buckles and concho belts too. But this could be a Rocky
Mountain/Southwest regional thing…

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Colorado Springs, Colorado

I did just that for a mother’s birthday gift to her teenage son -an
adjustable neck cord with a pendant comprised of an antique Chinese
coin, very simpy detailed. The symbolism of the coin, along with that
of one of the detail beads I chose was included on my handwitten card
to illustrate the special significance of the gift. According to his
mother, he ha never taken it off.

A year later, she ordered 8 more just like it, as high school
graduation gifts for her son’s “posse” of closest friends.


Karen, I have been wearing a chain with a carved jade pendant since
1975 and only remove it when the x-ray tech tells me to! It was
carved for me by the brother of the gentleman who taught me smithing

  • a real master carver. also wear an 18K bracelet and now and then a
    ring or two I have made over the years. And, I have a number of
    bolas that I wear anytime the chance presents itself. Recently I
    finished a huge silver buckle with bright red dino bone I cut. Had
    the buckle for years but never had cut a stone until this dino bone

I like men’s jewelry so much that I am starting a new ‘Teen’s
Jewelry’ class at the Boca School of Art come this Sept. Already
have several teens in other classes but decided to group them so they
can make the stuff they like.

The only jewelry men like more than that being worn by their loved
one(s) is the jewelry they wear themselves!

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut2

     What looks good with a T-shirt and shorts? Anybody else? 

Hi All; I don’t wear much jewelry, but from time to time I’ve become
attached to personal items as such;

A pendant I made from a slice off the end of a high-carbon tool
steel rod, about 1 inch in diameter and ground to a low dome, set in
a backed sterling bezel, hanging by a bail on a continuous leather
cord. Inlayed in the center is the Hebrew letter “teth” in polished
18K gold and the steel is finished in a deep plumb brown. On the
back an engraving of a spiral, expanding counter-clockwise, of
course. Set under the steel gem are a few choice ingredients. The
symbolism in the piece is complex.

My wedding band is a 14K yellow gold band, about 10 millimeters in
width, deeply carved with an interlocking wave pattern taken from the
frieze of a Minoan pottery water jug. The act of the carving is left
evident in the finish and the casting and the gold a wedding present
from a fellow jeweler. The design is an oceanic motif and also an
organic form of an infinity symbol.

An 18K white gold antique ring, set with a square bloodstone, the
long axis perpendicular with the finger. It’s finely engraved and
once belonged to my wife’s great grandfather who was also a
blacksmith and a Pisces. I trained on the same anvil he did, many
years before I ever met my wife and before I could have known of his

My current favorite is a single antique ivory bead, about half-inch
in diameter, on a leather cord, san’s clasp, simply knotted in the
back. In Mali it identifies the blacksmith whose social standing is
equaled only by the high priest. Perhaps it’s arrogant to wear such
an article, sort of like taking out a Karmic credit card at unknown
interest rates. We’ll see.

My next piece, when I can afford it, will be a platinum signet
shaped ring, set with a dazzling and large genuine blue star sapphire
which I recently acquired. I like to take the stone out of the safe
and watch that star follow my eye as I shift it in my hand. This I
will make as an heirloom, and it will probably be hand engraved over
the entire surface.

David L. Huffman

Hello Orchidians! The responses I have been receiving to the Gender
Bias Jewelry question have been quite interesting. Two offposts
from men, (come on guys, speak up), and a number of thoughtful
comments from others.

Yes, this is an interesting and challenging thought. I like the
tee shirt challenge. Jewelry for a tee shirt. What would that look

I had my Jewelry II class make brooches for men. First they all
groaned, but now, they are really taking to the idea and have come
up with some very cool pieces to wear.

Brian wrote in, “too girly”. What does “girly jewelry look like?”

So, if you designers WERE going to design some jewelry out there for
men, what would it be? What kind of components, design direction
and shape would it take?

One said, “men don’t spend money on themselves”. Oh come on, have
you been to Home Depot on Sunday? Or how about Sharper Image? What
about technical geek toys?

Keep the dialogue going. I find this interesting.

Karen Christians
10 Walnut St.
Woburn, MA 01801
Ph: 781 937 3532
Fx: 781 937 3955
email: @Karen_Christians
Board Member of SNAG

I live in Key West - about 20% gay men! I sell equally to str8 and
gay people and there seems to be no difference in their preferences.
Large pieces designed for men go to women, small delicate pieces get
bought for and by str8 men. In this laid back atmosphere people enjoy
the work for its own sake and don’t deem to be concerned with “gender

Lucky us!

Tony Konrath
Key West Florida 33040

I love fire agate so that is what I wear. I have a gold ring with a
42 ct fire agate. Unfortunately the shape of the stone was such it
had to be mounted in a ring for the left hand. My wife is not too
happy when I replace my wedding band with my fire agate ring. I also
have a fire agate mounted in a bear pendant and wear it on a
turquoise beaded necklace. I wear the necklace under my collar and
the pendant in front of an open shirt. I wear a large gold
presentation buckle with two large fire agates. I have found that
when people admire your jewelry and ask where you got it is best to
say you bought it from a friend. Usually if I say I made the
jewelry the conversation dies. I think people are afraid they will
get a sales pitch. I have sold several sterling conchos mounted on a
leather hat bands recently. I have also sold several concho belt
collars for peoples dogs. Turquoise rings are a big seller. Lee Epperson