U.S. Men Now Wearing More Jewelry – Welcome to the Party Guys!

man wearing rings jewelry

The New York Times ran an intriguing piece this week on the uptick in consumption of Jewelry by American and European men. I can’t speak for our brothers across the pond, but it doesn’t take a sleuth to see that dudes here are wearing more jewelry today than they were a few years ago. Rings, Bracelets and Cufflinks have made a killer come back  — which can be evidenced by the anecdotal fact that I ran into my mechanic (the scrubbiest, non-metro, manliest man I know) at dinner with his fiance last week (in a part of Western NJ that might as well be a wormhole to Kalamazoo) and he was sporting a pair of blue guilloche enamel links -with jeans no less.

I’m sure there’s a dozen reasons why jewelry has resurfaced as an “acceptable” male accessory, but we’ve got our own take on it. Consider the fact that in many cultures men regularly wear jewelry that might be considered too feminine in the West (just take a long hard look at the hands and wrists of your male Indian friends and acquaintances). And that’s really the crux of the issue, isn’t it? We Westerners have been putting jewelry and femininity in the same box for decades. But things they are “a’changin” my friend.

The later 90’s to early 2000’s rise-of-the-metro-man combined with: continued growth and progress of the women’s movements; the mainstreaming of what were formerly American subcultures (hip-hop culture, gay culture); and the ever present desire to push boundaries – have all come together to soften our collective projection of Western maleness.

cutesy guys

 

 

Assuming you’re in the “art imitates life camp”, just look at the 21st century’s Hollywood leading male heroes — Chris Pine, Ryan Gosling, Zac Efron, Ryan Reynolds — all cutsie-bootsey boyish heroes that wouldn’t hold a flame to the rough masculine heroes of yesteryear (epitomized by the likes of Bogart and perhaps Eastwood) — but we love them and keep flopping down $20.00 a ticket to see them save the world. Why? Because we can live with the idea of a hero who isn’t 100% manly-man 24 hours per day. (Consider the evolution of Clancy’s  Jack Ryan from Baldwin to Ford to Affleck to, you guessed it, Pine.)

In addition to undoubtedly saving countless American men from feelings of inadequacy (except perhaps for that whole abs thing), this increasing comfort with softer masculinity allows Western men to wear some jewelry without fearing the repercussions they might have suffered a few decades ago. The reluctance to wear jewelry (other than the obvious personal preference) stems from a fear of appearing less-masculine, but if we live in a world wear its acceptable (if not desireable) to appear less masculine, but still be a man, then there’s no risk to the wearer. In fact. many would argue that wearing jewelry is simply an expression of how comfortable you are with your own interpretation of masculinity.

Now, that’s not to say we expect to see your average Joe flaunting pearl lavalieres anytime soon, but keep your eyes peeled just in case. In the meantime, welcome to the party, guys, and take a look at the hundreds of pieces of vintage men’s jewelry we’re currently offering. (as a welcome gift – use the code “MENS18” to take 18% off any men’s item in our Etsy store – now through June 1, 2015)

Shop Men’s Jewelry on Ebay

Shop Men’s Jewelry on Etsy

 

JEWELRY as an INVESTMENT for the Regular Person

 

Jewelry as investmentContrary to popular belief, jewelry can be a valuable and dependable form of investment — if it is acquired intelligently with a focus on current value.  In fact, for most of human history, jewelry was a simple, dependable and convenient means for storing wealth in a quasi-functional form.  Changes in economic models, global and domestic economies, the global fashion industry, advertising norms, and the commonality of person-to-person transactions have drastically impacted the usefulness of jewelry as an investment vehicle. These changes began in earnest in the 19th century and progressed very rapidly in the second half of the 20th century. As a result of these economic and cultural forces, jewelry investment has become less common for most of us.  However, jewelry investment remains an excellent way to store wealth and insulate yourself from inflation. How do you accomplish these goals? The answer may be pretty simple: make educated acquisitions of preowned jewelry.  And, we are talking about jewelry that can be purchased by the average person, as opposed to gems of exceptional rarity or museum quality pieces.

Read more JEWELRY as an INVESTMENT for the Regular Person

First Dibs….Fresh Vintage & Antique Jewelry…Every Week

Here’s an inside look at some of the exciting new baubles at Hunter Ridge Jewelry. Just click on any picture to go right to the store.

June 13, 2014

 

Sterling Silver Taxco Cuff Bracelet

 

This heavy sterling silver cuff was crafted in the studio of world renowned Taxco Artisan – Margot Van Voorhies. Her studio, “Margot de Taxco”, produced some of the most important Taxco silver jewelry of the last century. We are pleased to offer this masterpiece to our loyal customers. It hails from a collection that included pieces by Spratling, Aguilar, Pineda and other Taxco master silversmiths. In the coming weeks, we will be posting the remainder of the collection in our store. This particular bracelet features a classic Mexican swirl pattern that is interrupted by a plain flat bar of silver. The “modern meets classic” juxtaposition makes for a real show stopper.

 

Sapphire Ring

 

There is no blue like “sapphire blue” and this classicaly designed cluster ring takes full advantage of that fact. Over a dozen full cut natural blue sapphires are web-set in a solid sterling silver 14K-gold-finished ring. The use of silver as the base metal helps keep this stunning natural gemstone ring in the most affordable of price ranges. Its bold styling and size dress up the hand in a way that say’s “I’m all that”.

 

 

Gemstone Lavaliere Necklace in Solid Sterling Silver
Gemstone Lavaliere Necklace in Solid Sterling Silver

This stunning lavaliere necklace is crafted from solid sterling silver and features a mix of amethyst, citrine, garnet and iolite. Fit for a princess, it has enough color to go with pretty much outfit. Perfect for a low cut summer get up.

 

Vargas Sterling Silver and Gold Accent Vintage Panel Necklace
Vargas Sterling Silver and Gold Accent Vintage Panel Necklace

Ummm….gorgeous! That about describes this classic choker length necklace. It was expertly manufactured in the late 1940’s by the world-renowned Vargas jewelry company of Providence, Rhode Island. This sure-to-please solid sterling silver beauty features an elaborate rose pattern with light gold accents.

Vintage Navajo Sterling Silver & Coral Dainty Cuff Bracelet
Vintage Navajo Sterling Silver & Coral Dainty Cuff Bracelet

Want to express your tribal flare without wearing a massive cuff? Well here’s the answer – this dainty vintage cuff bracelet is set with a piece of red coral and is flexible enough to be molded around even the daintiest of wrists. It has all the charm of its bigger cousins without any of the carpal tunnel inducing weight. A great addition to your spring ensemble.

Vintage Sterling Silver Asian "Lantern" Earrings
Vintage Sterling Silver Asian “Lantern” Earrings

 

We’re not entirely sure what to make of these….but they’re super cool. They resemble tiny lanterns and have an Asian continent (or sub-continent) look to them that’s irresistible. Dress up your look with these ethno-chic beauties and be the “light” of the party.

 

 

Synthetic Diamonds – Real, but not Natural, and a Philosophical Dilemma

Humans, in their never-ending effort to understand what makes the universe tick, and replicate mother-nature’s creations, have discovered multiple processes by which to create synthetic diamonds. These man-made stones, which are practically indistinguishable from natural diamonds, have recently shown up mixed with natural stones in some of the world’s foremost diamond mining and jewelry manufacturing centers. In addition to posing a real and substantial threat to the natural diamond industry, the mixing of synthetic stones raises the philosophical question as to whether we, as diamond consumers, should be concerned at all – and if so – why? The answer requires us to look at the unique relationship we’ve developed with nature in the post-industrial and post-tech revolution era.
Read more Synthetic Diamonds – Real, but not Natural, and a Philosophical Dilemma

Pearls of Fiji -Extreme Beauty

View from Our Hotel
View from Our Hotel

“Bula” (pronounced mboolah) jewelry lovers, aficionados and hobbyists! Bula is Fijian for hello and we’re just back from a South Pacific buying trip that included a brief stop over in the Fijian Islands. Literally traslated, the word “Bula” means LIFE and we haven’t encountered a place more teeming and full of life and natural beauty than Fiji. While in Fiji, we visited the Island of Savusavu. This emerald paradise is home to around 5,000 residents and also the J. Hunter Pearls “Pearl Farm”— established by Fijian Justin Hunter, who returned home to Fiji from the United States in 1999.

Hunter’s Suvasu facility is low water coastal pearl farm located in a pristine Fijian bay. Hunter’s operations is based on the cultivation of “Black Lipped Oysters” (Pinctada margaritifera).

black lipped oyster

These large oysters are easily identified by their size, fringe like growths at the edges and “black lips”.

J. Hunter Pearls is a relatively new player in the “pearl game”. However, the company’s forward thinking, innovations, passion and desire to grow with the community have garnered a great detail of positive attention.

Sign Outside the Farm
Sign Outside the Farm

While visiting the J. Hunter Pearls showroom, we were enchanted by some of the most colorful and spectacular specimens we have ever seen.

We learned that process of producing such pearls requires the perfect oceanic environment and farmers who carefullyPearls in Box monitor and nurture black lip pearl oysters. Further, it involves “grafting” — the delicate process (basically a surgical procedure from our understanding) of inserting a nucleus into the oyster. The “pearl” then forms around the nucleus. When harvested, the pearls can come in an assortment of different colors including: Gold, Copper, Champagne, Pistachio, Cranberry, Chocolate, Blue and Green.

  • Some of the pearls we saw and handled in the showroom even appeared to have hues of turquoise and rose-red. The average size of the pearls at J. Hunter are between 10.5 – 11.0 millimeters. However, some are as large as 18 millimeters. We also learned that being a pearl farmer means being at the mercy of Mother Nature.

In March 2010, Fiji was hit by Cyclone Tomas, and the J. Hunter Pearls farm was devastated. Yet the company continues to rebuild and looks forward to the future. This picture below is the bay where the pearls are actually grown and farmed. J. Hunter works closely with the local community to ensure that their pearl farming operation not only produced gorgeous pearls, but does so in an environmentally sustainable and economically responsible manner. Check in with our  ebay store in coming months where we will be offering some of the pearls we acquired from the J. Hunter. Farm