In today’s world, men wearing jewelry is making a comeback from years past. It wasn’t long ago that most men chose a wedding ring and that was pretty much it. History tells us, however, that such wasn’t always the case. As a matter of fact, wearing jewelry was not only popular among men, it was a sign of status and wealth.
Earrings for men were a definite fashion trend during the Renaissance. They were a way of showing off wealth, but history shows there was another reason men put pearls in their ears: they felt it made them look handsome. Or perhaps a bit rakish. Either way, the popularity of dangling pearl earrings grew. There could be drawbacks to wearing them, however, if you happened to be a king who fell out of favor. Charles I insisted on wearing his pearl to his execution. History records that as soon as his head fell, there was a mad dash to see who could retrieve the earring.
One group of men in particular had a fascination for wearing earrings (and we think of them as part of their costume to this day): pirates. While noble men used them as a way of showing off wealth, pirates had an even greater motive for having those dangling hoops in their ears. The jewelry was a way to ensure the means for their friends or family to give them a proper burial when they eventually met their demise. The precious metal could be melted down after their death to pay for the funeral.
Rings were also a way to show powerful alliances. Family crests were popular on such rings and men wore them to show their powerful allies. Such rings could also be used to imprint on sealing wax for letters, giving their personal seal of approval to the communication.
The connection between jewelry and men goes back even further. Ancient Celts were fond of wearing gold torcs, or necklaces and ancient Egyptians wore not only necklaces and rings but also armbands of gold adorned with precious stones. And one of the earliest forms of male jewelry was worn by ancient Greeks: crowns made of laurel leaves.
Today men have a variety of fashionable jewelry to choose from when it comes to their adornment.