News & Insights

Gentlemen's Jewellery

13th March 2024. By Sarah Hardy


All of the examples in this blog, will be included in the Jewellery, Watches & Silver Sale on 18th May.


There’s no disputing the fact that the overwhelming majority of jewellery is worn by women. But gentlemen’s jewellery has always held a firm corner of the market, with every retailer having a selection of items aimed at men.

Recently, Christies held a widely publicised sale in New York of the jewellery of Elton John. An incredible array of jewellery items was included in The Jewel Box auction, with the sale total reaching a little under $2million. Many of the items included were lavish, but the beautiful collection included many items with such versatility they could be worn by anyone, either as a stand-alone jewellery item on a dark coloured outfit, or as part of an eye-catching ensemble.

Gentlemen’s jewellery is an area of the market that is influenced heavily by fashion and its popularity has seen huge peaks and troughs over centuries. From French aristocracy adorned with jewellery and gemstones of all types and proportions, to fashions influenced by musicians with a love of multiple heavy chains, to the more reserved styles seen in the mid-20th century middle classes where a wedding ring, discreet cufflinks and a watch was quite sufficient, when you start to consider jewellery on men it really does seem that anything goes.


An Edwardian Pearl and Diamond Brooch (estimate: £500-700 plus buyer’s premium)


A Victorian Diamond Hare Brooch (estimate: £300-500 plus buyer’s premium)

It is still unusual to see a man wearing a brooch, although, TV celebrities and other popular figures have made this sight less startling than it may have been 30 years ago. Some men favour a discreet antique bar running up the lapel, others would opt for a quirky animal or abstract design. Perhaps due to the popularity of the period drama television genre, waistcoats and the associated pocket watch and Albert chain are back in favour (a trend that seems to follow 20-year cycles). Signet rings have fluctuated in popularity over the decades, some worn engraved with their own initials, or those of their beloved, others to depict a family crest.  Necklaces, bracelets, and earrings are not a rare sight on a man today, either. It is becoming increasingly common for partners to offer engagement rings to one another, and these are sometimes gem set and more ornate in style than most men would have been interested in a generation ago. Again, this is not a new phenomenon; a Victorian gentlemen might be considered improperly dressed without his diamond set ring. Today, many gentlemen wear shirt sleeves, particularly for work, and may require cufflinks for those. An appealing feature of cufflinks is that they offer an opportunity to bring a little individuality to an outfit. In a corporate world where there might not be much variety in workwear, the cufflink can represent a person’s character nicely, plain and polished, with coloured enamel, or with gemstones, pictures, or even words upon them.


A Pair of Enamel Cufflinks (estimate: £200-300 plus buyer’s premium)


A Pair of Diamond Cufflinks (estimate: £200-300 plus buyer’s premium)


A Pair of Ruby and Diamond Cufflinks, Hamann & Koch (estimate: £200-300 plus buyer’s premium)


A Pair of Russian Sapphire and Enamel Cufflinks (estimate: £200-300 plus buyer’s premium)

 For a more formal occasion dress studs may be called for, and cased sets of these often find their way to auction.


Four Buttons and A Pair of Cufflinks Suite, cased (estimate: £150-200 plus buyer’s premium)


A Diamond and Onyx Cufflink, Button and Dress Stud Suite, by Van Cleef & Arpels (estimate: £500-700 plus buyer’s premium)

In conclusion, it is nice to think that jewellery is for everyone. It’s a way of expressing your style and personality in a way unique to you, whether that be in an understated way or a bold manner.


A Ruby, Sapphire and Diamond Novelty Brooch (estimate: £300-500 plus buyer’s premium)

Sarah Hardy

Sarah Hardy

LL.B. (Hons) PJ.Dip. FGA DGA

Jewellery Consultant

+ 44 (0) 1969 623780

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