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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Man Up! And Wear Your Jewelry. Part I

Jewelry hasn't hurt Steven Tyler's Image

The earliest evidence of jewelry comes to us from Africa, where ancient adornments made of shells have been found.

This mollusk jewelry was discovered in a cave in Blombos, South Africa, and dates back to the Middle Stone Age, some 75,000 to 100,000 years ago.

Nassarius Shells:

For we jewelry makers, it is interesting to note that beads  were the first material object not necessary for survival, and they have been considered an indicator of when early hominids, or bipedal primates, developed the ability to symbolize, thus becoming “modern man”.  Adornment was indicative of the beginning of symbolic, higher order thinking.


Jewelry started out as a functional adornment used to fasten articles of clothing together, and was later adapted for use as an object for purely aesthetic ornamentation, or for use as a spiritual and religious symbol.

Early Europeans also prized jewelry made of stone and teeth. These pieces of jewelry were worn by both men and women, and had cultural, spiritual, or tribal significance. 

The Vikings are just one of countless historical cultures who loved bright ornamentation. Their metalworkers highly skilled at intricate decoration of jewelery. Both men and women wore brooches, pendants, bracelet cuffs and more.


It was the ancient Egyptians who were  the first to craft fine jewelry out of gold combined with gemstones. They wore gold jewelry to showcase their wealth, and as talismen and amulets. Gold possessions always went with the owner to the grave. Egyptians paved the way for creative fine jewelry all around the world. As with all cultures previously, jewelry was worn by both men and women.

from the tomb of Tut-ankh-amun, http://archaeology.knoji.com

I am still researching how this puzzling changeover evolved.  In modern society, (the last two hundred years or so), men, at least in the West, have become confined to cufflinks, tiepins, and watches with all other jewelry being regarded as feminine or ostentatious. 

This pressure for men to  "de-adorn" prevails, regardless of  countless examples of iconic, non-feminine, hardly ostentatious men, proudly displaying their bodily adornments.

The greatest warriors in history never "went out without their jewelry".  Commanche warriors were close to changing our history to "How the West Was Lost." The annihilation of Western settlers by the fully adorned Commanche warriors was the single reason our US Marshal system was instituted.

Commanche Warriors, the baddest asses of the baddasses.

And the Marshals who took on the toughest weren't afraid to wear their own style of bling.
Commanche Warrior - The Fiercest of Native Americans  - in traditional tribal adornment

Another iconic warrior, fully jeweled and adorned, the Maasai
Killing a lion in Maasai culture is a test of manhood, still today.

And moving away from warriors, we have iconic men: men's men. Wearing jewelry, looking none the fem for it.

Paul Newman

Delicious Steve McQueen

I make jewelry for a living. I live with a man who is constantly telling me, "I love this, I wish I wore jewelry!".  I get no where with him, but if you have read this far, maybe I can make convert of you? 

Have you always wanted to give it a try?  Well, remember the power of jewelry–for better or worse it sends signals about who we are, our commitments, and our status in society.  

Women get to mix and match  their clothes and jewelry at will and men appear to be governed by a myriad of strict rules. Any women can squeeze into a pair of skinny jeans. But very few men should try to pull this off. (one woman's opinion - no men should). Women have a lot more fun but it does not have to be this way.

My next post is jammed packed with tips on how men can subtly get into jewelry. What to start with and how to do it totally right! Additionally,  lots of gorgeous examples to choose from.

Don't miss it!

Thanks for visiting and reading. Please leave me a note and tell me your thoughts on men and jewelry.

"Before written language, or the spoken word, there was jewelry."