Men's jewelry basics

Why is there no on how to make a man’s piece of jewelry?
How do I go about it without making it look feminine? What metals
are best? How long should a man’s neck chain be? Should the metals be

Thank you for any you are able to provide.

Rosemarie Greenwald


There is info on men’s jewelry in the Orchid archives. For example,
most men’s neck chains are 22" length. Men wear steel, gold,
sterling and mixed metals. Men’s jewelry includes key chains,
earrings, neck chains, cuff links, lapel pins, tie tacs, watches,
medallions commemorating sports events such as marathons, belt
buckles, rings, bracelets, etc. My experience is that men prefer
heavier chains than women.

Keep searching, the info is available. Best regards, Mary A

Men’s jewelry need not be chunky nor even bold or loud. It doesn’t
even have to be tasteless (sadly much is).

Over the years I’ve sold a fair amount of men’s. The repeat sellers
tended to be things like simple onyx rings, signet rings, tux sets,
clean cufflinks. I will say that it all depends on the clientele.
Here, men tend to be reserved and go for simplicity over pizzazz. I’m
sure it varies geographically.

How to make it? The same processes apply for manufacturing.
Durability becomes a bigger factor so the mechanical aspects of
design should be thought out carefully and that often guides
aesthetic design.

I’m so glad someone asked about men’s jewelry standards. My husband
loves my copper jewelry but I have no guidelines for necklaces or
bracelets. I hope someone can answer this issue. Tks.

Why is there no on how to make a man's piece of
jewelry? How do I go about it without making it look feminine? What
metals are best? How long should a man's neck chain be? Should the
metals be "chunky?" 

Step 1 - Find a man
Step 2 - Find a man that wears jewelry
Step 3 - Ask that man what he likes
Step 4 - Repeat over and over
Step 5 - Make Jewelry

In all seriousness, men are like snowflakes, albeit manly snowflakes
at that, each one is different, and each one has different tastes.

I design and build primarily for the mens market, I focus on two
very different ends of the spectrum.

The first being individuals that appreciate solid design and solid
craftsmanship. A majority of these pieces are very architectual,
clean, simple, and elegant. This end of the spectrum tends to include
professional individuals with a keen eye for sublty in their

At the opposite end of the specturm are individuals that have no
inhibitions with what they like to wear. Enter my more extreme
designs that do catch the attention of others. Little do they know
that a lot of time and care go into the design and construction of
said objects of adornment, but thats not their focus for
jewelry…appearance is…

Then there is everyone in the middle…not much I can say about

Solid design brings in more than the first group of men, it attracts
a variety of individuals. Yes, I primarily design for men, but a LOT
of my work has a very unisex appeal. For me, that is an added bonus
and doesnt leave the ladies out as they are probably 50-60% of my
market. Some items are almost exclusively mens…belt buckles and
cuff links come to mind…but to answer your question, there are no
rules set in stone…ask around, and build from the heart.

One major advantage I feel I have is that I am a man…I build what
I want to wear…sometimes its just that simple.

Good Luck and have fun,

Ive been working with a woman who designs really interesting
gemstone, and precious metals beaded jewelry for women. I.m a
gemstone carver and have been creating pendants and centerpieces etc.
that she has been designing around. 99% of what we come up with
together ends up being necklaces and bracelets that are feminine.
I’ve been trying to determine what sorts of characteristic elements
might be attractive or suitable for men so that we can add some items
to our stock for men. It is a challenge. I’ve learned the most,
although it is still only really a little, by looking at what men are
wearing whenever and where ever I am out in the world. Some of the
things Ive noticed are that a lot of men wearing necklaces are
wearing much shorter necklaces. Spherical beads rarely make up more
than around 5% of the total of a lot of the necklaces. The metals Im
seeing men wear vary. men who dress well seem to like gold. I see men
wearing silver, copper and brass Asian made designs, especially E
Indian and Nepalese. A lot of younger men do seem to prefer chunky
metals, large links, etc. Aside from metals, men are wearing
leathers, braided, hemp and and braided natural fibers in sometimes
longer necklaces with a pendant only. In general, it seems that in
necklaces that are constructed more like beaded necklaces that
contain an assortment of elements, metals, woods, bone, ivory, are
often more geometrical in form, with mostly straight lines, less
organic and flowing than designs for women. As far as gem mineral and
glass elements go, especially for center pieces, beads and pendants,
there is more variety.With these I think a pendant can be more
flowing and organic as long as the rest of necklaces comes across as
masculine looking.

Someone told me men seem to like phallic forms like spear tips,
arrow heads etc. I think there might be something to that.

I see older men wearing finer, more delicate looking gold necklaces.

Look at body mod jewelry for men, especially tribal forms.

I uploaded a picture of a pendant I carved that I intend to wear to
my Deviant art profile ( ). I think this
is a really good man’s design.

Also I added a picture of a necklace we made that a man bought
titled Montana agate necklace. I think that some men like native
American kinds of designs as well.

Hope this helps a bit.
August Voss

have no guidelines for necklaces or bracelets. I hope someone can
answer this issue. 

Answer, what answer? ;} A. There is no such creature as a “Men”. B.
Most men don’t wear jewelry at all except for maybe a wedding ring -
I don’t except a tie tack and the rare cuff links…

But there are guidelines… Most men don’t like floral or busy
things. There’s what I personally dubbed “the Persian rug effect”
long ago. That is that if you make a floral design it’s a floral
design and likely feminine. If you shrink that down to a tiny size
and repeat it, it becomes a pattern, which is entirely different. In
any case, you need to understand your curves, which you need to
understand anyway - Grace, Beauty, Strength. On men’s jewelry you
usually want any curves to be strong curves.

I’d say what most men are attracted to could be summed up as Deco
Period geometry, bolder styling, subtle detail. Also in any case you
need to understand the difference between “simple” and “plain” -
simple is good and often elegant, plain is bad and usually boring.
It still needs to have style…

And I believe it was Neil who talked about geography - around here
there are men who are into what I (again, me personally only) call
“Reno Jewelry” Big gold coins, money clips, “Nugget” styling -
sometimes real gold nuggets, this being gold country. Big, flashy
stuff that I don’t like and I don’t like to make… But it’s a

I just searched Google images for “mens rings” - no apostrophe was
better - pretty standard stuff but a good overview, too. And I’ll
say one last thing - men tend to like either simplicity or iconic
things. Classic designs that are a bit floral are often OK because
they are classic - like the Greek temple sort of thing. Other icons
are “manly” things - eagles, lions, dragons - either literally or
just suggestions or parts of them…

The again you could make a very masculine flower that could just fly
off the shelves… If it was easy it wouldn’t be any fun, eh?

The only other consistent type of mens jewelry i know of at the
moment, moment meaning current style trend, was what i saw when i
went on a field trip to a downtown jewelry store that specializes in
"BLING" jewelry heavy gold chains ginormous pendants with 10-20
carats of little diamonds and " GRILLS " for your front teeth, and
believe you me that jewelry had better say I GOT CASH & LOTS OF IT.

I even saw the christian version when i went to visit a friend at
his church in boca raton. The kid had a diamond collage of “the last
supper " on a heavy gold rope about 36” long.

I am going to guess that all this is part of an industry and
lifestyle supported by certain types of modern music like hip hop and
rap and other more specific more finely tuned variations of this
music i do not understand the genre but there are folks profiting
from this. perhaps there is a market in your area for this type of

The First piece of Jewelry that Jennifer made for me is something I
still have and use: it is a sterling belt buckle. I sign my initials
in a pattern and she duplicated that for my buckle. I love it and can
always use it even if I need a longer belt these days!

Perhaps most guys would not look upon this as Jewelry, but I do see
it that way.

Charles Friedman DDS
Ventura by the Sea

Most men don't wear jewelry at all except for maybe a wedding ring

I dont mean to offend, but this has got to be the largest
mis-conception out there pertaining to the mens jewelry market. A
majority of men wear jewelry, they just dont call it jewelry per say.

Look at their wrists, many have a watch, if they wear a watch, they
have adornment. These individuals can, and will wear a bracelet, link
or cuff.

What holds up their trousers…a belt, attached to that belt is a
belt buckle. This is a piece of jewelry, like it or not, it is
adornment in a very utilitarian fashion.

Now convicing these men that what they are currently wearing is
jewelry, well that’s a whole other story. Educating is one of the
keys to the men’s market, shifting the frame of reference from
utilitarian to adornment is not an easy one, some get it some don’t,.
Like a man, it is difficult to ask OR take directions when lost, BUT,
it is possible.

----personal opinion below----

I also belive that a major reason a lot of men don’t wear jewelry
is because…well, the jewelry out there, and pardon my verbage,
sucks. The mens market is full of bland tasteless items, once you
weed thru the garbage, you will find a hand full of makers out there
with awesome work, great design, and brilliant concepts.

Men do want to be adorned, its in their nature, after all who wore
that first saber tooth tiger tooth necklace…MAN did… :wink:

raising his club with pride

I saw one of those the other day in a shop window, a huge gold Jesus
bust pendant with the crown of thorns studded with big diamonds. I

The kid had a diamond collage of "the last supper " on a heavy gold
rope about 36" long. 

I think the various responses on this thread have all said good
things, but I’ll add a caution to Gustavo’s quote,above… I helped
make a pendant for a pro boxer - about a pound of gold (serious…),
with a pendant about 4"x6", all set with 10 point diamonds… But
that was a special order for a lot of money.

Your typical man is much more interested in a nice, tailored wedding
band with a bit of style to it. Maybe some variant of a signet. I
personally think bolo ties are a real nice form, they just don’t get
outside the American SW much. Just to say that the sort of outre’
stuff Gustavo mentions is not really mainstream. In my experience
most men don’t wear jewelry, and when it comes time to wear a wedding
ring they are a bit terrified at getting something beyond a certain
short level of flash, at the risk of seeming effete or something. I’d
suggest to a newbie trying to find something that moves, for men,
that they take it easy on the bling, in the beginning…

I have a guy student who wears a piece of Scrimshaw Fossil Tusk from
Alaska (is very sentimental – would die if he lost it)- wears it on
a small diameter black leather “necklace” – just at the top of his
T-Shirt. Also, today had ladies trying to figure out what to give
the Geologist husband/father.

They settled on an irregularly shaped Dinosaur Bone Bead, which will
become a pendant on one of the short “necklaces”.

No Bling!

Rose Marie Christison

One other reason men may not wear jewlery is their job.

In many jobs where guys work with their hands or around machinery,
it isn’t safe to wear jewelry. Think about getting a ring caught in a
couple of gears or between 2 electrical conductors.

That’s not to say the salesmen, lawyers etc couldn’t wear it. But if
they wear flashy jewelry it may turn off potential customers.



...personally think bolo ties are a real nice form, they just
don't get outside the American SW much... 

I have to agree, and am surprised by their popularity and/or appeal.
We recently traveled in the Black Sea area. On the trip, a friend
frequently wore a bolo tie that I had made for him and everyone from
clerks to politicians were attracted to it. (It didn’t hurt that he’s
good looking and wore clothing that highlighted/coordinated well with
the bolo.) I guess many of us like wearing things that are unique and
interesting, but not weird. This bolo tie fell into that category.


Funny timing. I just got off the phone with a male client for whom
I’ll be making a lapel pin/pendant. Enamel, white gold,
platinum-silver and black diamond (diamonds purchased from a long
time friend/dealer). He borrowed a couple of my pieces for some
important events last week, one black-tie, and had a great time
wearing them. Some guys just know how to have fun.

Marianne Hunter

Men look good in jewelry!!! It always catches my eye. Look at those
necklaces baseball players wear, WOW!!! My husband loves jewelry and
he is by no means a “flashy guy”. Guess he just likes that little
bit of bling. I would also think that since more men are wearing
earrings that they would also feel comfortable wearing necklaces and
bracelets. Maybe they don’t because there just isn’t that much
available or advertised. Maybe it’s up to people like us to get this
idea going more.

Men’s Jewelry Basics Kit

  1. Three onyx cabochons, one round, one oval, one square.

  2. Set of old English gold initials.

  3. Three 14k signet ring castings, one with round hole, one oval,
    one square.

Have I left anything out?


I make heavy sterling silver chain bracelets. I provide the galleries
that represent me with different lengths so they will fit both men
and women. I sell as many chains in the men’s sizes as I do in
women’s sizes. So I think that there is a good market for men’s
bracelets. You can see examples of my bracelets on the gallery page
of the first website in my signature below.

David Luck

Have I left anything out? 

Very funny! Here in San Diego, for our men’s jewelry market, you’d
want to have a few “bolts”, the lightning bolt symbols for the San
Diego Chargers, which are quite popular around here.


Jay Whaley
Whaley Studios