To understand the current interest in men’s rings let’s first take a step back.
For the ancients, jewellery was a man’s game. Consider the maharajas of India: Festooned in elaborate diamond necklaces, ruby-studded bracelets and dangling emerald earrings, they embraced male adornment, as did their masculine contemporaries.
Then came the French Revolution. The rise of the bourgeoisie at the end of the 18th century brought with it the conviction that it was no longer appropriate for real men—the working sort—to be bejeweled.
With the exception of the 1970s, when bohemian attitudes encouraged dudes to don beads, conventional wisdom in Western culture has long dictated that men eschew ornamentation.
However, that was then. Now, everyone from bling-bedecked hip-hop stars to regular guys are sporting stacks of silver and leather bracelets up their arms and it’s cool for boys to wear baubles. It’s also likely the booming same-sex marriage market is also transforming one category in particular: men’s rings.
“Designers are doing even more men’s rings because they’re selling more men’s bands,” says trend tracker Cindy Edelstein, founder of the Jeweler’s Resource Bureau in Pelham, New York. “There’s been a cultural shift: Guys are dying to wear rings!”
Fittingly, the selection of styles is now vast and varied enough to support men of all persuasions. Rock ‘n’ rollers in the Keith Richards tradition can choose from scores of stylish new skull rings—check out Solange Azagury-Partridge’s 2-year-old Alpha collection for a humorous spin.
Meanwhile, the “It Boy” of designer jewellery, Stephen Webster, offers a slew of men’s styles that bear his trademark cheeky sensibility.
Guys with an appreciation for fine craftsmanship should look to the textured bands of American raw diamond pioneer, Todd Reed, or the classic sculpted rings made by Editions De Re in Philadelphia.
Alternatively, for those who lean conservative, high street jewellers such as Tiffany & Co. and Bulgari can always be counted on for bands that are at once trendy and timeless.
Even that old standby, the signet ring, is back in fashion—with a twist. Burnished in blackened metal or gem-studded, this isn’t your grandfather’s signet ring—not that there’s anything wrong with that.
It should come as no surprise that the future of men’s jewellery lies firmly rooted in the past.
Here is a selection of top men’s rings for every male archetype:
Tateossian: Engagement ring in 18k white gold with black diamonds
The Record Producer
Cartier: Juste un Clou ring in 18k white gold
The Venture Capitalist
Editions de Re: 5.5 mm wide plain band in 18k yellow gold
The Technology Guy
David Yurman: Meteorite band ring in sterling silver
The Rock Star
Solange de Azagury Partridge: Vanitas ring from the Alpha collection in blackened 18k yellow gold with diamonds and emeralds
The Insurance Salesman
Tiffany & Co.: Paloma’s Caliper ring
The Clothing Designer
Todd Reed: Palladium ring with raw diamond cubes channel set on one side
The Club Promoter
Stephen Webster: England Made Me Ring in 18k rose gold and white diamonds
The Real Estate Magnet
Bulgari: B.zero1 3-band ring in 18k white gold
North Skull London: Signet ring in gunmetal black – men’s rings