A Jewel Reflects Taste, Personality and Individuality
Jewelry for Gentlemen was written and styled at an interesting time socially and psychologically. Perceptions of gender fluidity amongst the Millennial generation questions the dividing line between masculine and feminine
Article by James Sherwood, courtesy of his Jewellery for Gentlemen site
The advance copies of Jewelry for Gentlemen finally landed in Thames & Hudson’s warehouse this month with a publication date of the 30th of August. The American spelling of jewelry is a Thames & Hudson convention that will be uniform on both the British and the US edition of the book. After what seemed like a million cover treatments, we have gone for this Zoolander blue steel finish with pieces (top to bottom) by Tiffany & Co, Van Cleef & Arpels, Theo Fennell and Cartier.
I am pleased with the balance of antique and contemporary pieces in the book. I am particularly pleased that principal photographer Andy Barnham had the talent to shoot these miniature masterpieces on tailoring by Henry Poole & Co, Sir Tom Baker and Turnbull & Asser that made jewels of whatever age or provenance look modern and relevant.
It is a joy to photograph extravagant black tie brooches in white diamonds that look so right on a grosgrain lapel. But what I also wanted to achieve in Jewelry for Gentlemen was to show how gem-set pieces can be worn casually or with a City suit. A case in point is the Boucheron diamond and sapphire Art Deco bar brooch that we shot on the top pocket of a Sir Tom Baker pinstripe suit jacket. Granted, it takes cojones to wear Deco diamonds with a day suit but the design is relatively modest, modern and masculine and the colour balance with a navy pinstripe complimentary.
There was also an element of experimentation in the styling of Jewelry for Gentlemen. We set Stephen Webster’s 18ct yellow gold Thames Link bracelet as a lapel chain and Solange Azagury-Partidge’s pavé-set diamond Mirror Ball pendant in blackened 18ct white gold in the lapel of a Sir Tom Baker City suit. Men appreciate multi-tasking jewellery and the Solange mirror ball is an equally attractive proposition threaded through a lapel or worn as designed around the neck.
Solid gold chains have become a major feature in men’s fashion thanks in no small part to the work of Stephen Webster and David Yurman. The length of a traditional fob watch chain lends itself to being double-wound around the wrist or fastened around the neck with the T-bar fastening at the throat. Worn around the wrist, a Victorian fob watch chain is a move along from the friendship bracelets from foreign shores that every man from the CEO down has been wearing for the past decade.
I wrote and styled Jewelry for Gentlemen at an interesting time socially and psychologically. Perceptions of gender fluidity amongst the Millennial generation questions the dividing line between masculine and feminine. This I reflected in appropriating late 19th and early 20th century brooches undoubtedly set for women and reimagined them as lapel pins. I also featured many pieces that are heavily gem-set echoing the manner in which the Indian Maharajas revelled in display. The unspoken philosophy of Jewelry for Gentlemen was that a piece of jewellery is like a tattoo that a man can remove. Like a tattoo, a jewel reflects taste, personality and individuality. Unlike a tattoo, it can be changed on a daily basis.
Jewelry for Gentlemen is now available at all good bookshops.