24 May 2022
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Bend it like Boucheron!
Gender-fluid designs
By: Diamond World News Service
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Jan 6 2022 4:05PM
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Reference: 26079  

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Boxing people into stereotypes has been on a decline in a huge way, thankfully! Brave people have fought for the right not to be put in the proverbial, stereotypical boxes. Jewellery is a means of self-expression, so it is only natural that so many people wear, use, and enjoy jewellery to express their style and make statements about themselves, even politically Peggy Grosz, Senior Vice President, Assael IncAmidst millennials and Gen-Z folks, the traditional sense of masculinity is subverted by a new idea of masculinity that makes space for ambiguity and self-expression. A beautifully crafted piece of jewellery remains in the sanctum of its creator, unperturbed by the notions of social constructs, till the time it is marketed with labels. But with more designers like Gucci’s Alessandra Michele blazoning a fashion movement that is beyond gender, jewellery is increasingly worn purely based on its aesthetic appeal and its ability to reflect one’s own personal sense of style says Vijetha Rangabashyam

If we look at the history of jewellery and ornamentation, adorning a piece of jewel was never a gendered practice. From cavemen wearing jewellery carved out of shells, stones and bones, the noble men of the medieval times adorning themselves with gold, silver and precious gemstones to showcase their power and status, to the period of Renaissance followed by the next few decades, till the 19th century, men had as much an affinity towards wearing jewellery as women. India is a great example – though spoken about very often, one cannot simply omit the case of the Patiala necklace, commissioned by the Maharaja of Patiala from Cartier. The Patiala necklace is neither the only piece of ornament the Maharaja is known for commissioning nor is he the only Indian Prince of his times to have had this voracious appetite for precious jewellery.

With industrialisation, somewhere along the line, the act of wearing jewellery became “feminine”. Men began to view accessorising from a more practical lens, and hence wristwatches, tie pins and cufflinks became staple accessories for them. Since then, we’ve seen men playing peek-a-boo with jewellery instigated by the cultural changes brought forth by rock-n-roll, punk, hip-hop, grunge and such other movements. However, it is not until recently that a greater number of men are not just comfortable wearing gender-fluid jewellery, but are also wearing it to not just make a style statement but a strong political one too!

The socio-economic-cultural trifecta
In the realm of high jewellery, the likes of Boucheron, Tiffany & Co, Cartier, and Louis Vuitton have all launched collections that are either gender-fluid or specific to men. What has given birth to this ‘resurgence’? Katerina Perez, Editor-in-Chief of KaterinaPerez.com, believes that rather than calling it resurgence, we must put men’s jewellery in context. “The landscape of masculinity is changing and as more celebrities tap into their individualism, we have seen a steady increase in men wearing fine jewellery on the red carpet, including Harry Styles, Shawn Mendes and Timothée Chalamet. Gender fluidity has also played a role in the diversification of jewellery, helping to shift perceptions and ‘unlock’ the styling potential of jewels typically designed for women,” says Katerina.

Tiffany’s recent ‘About Love’ campaign, featuring both Jay-Z and Beyoncé, where she is seen wearing a whopping 128.54-carat yellow diamond necklace, with a rarely seen Jean- Michel Basquiat painting “Equals Pi” at the backdrop, says a lot for luxury brands wanting to capitalise on the market for men’s jewellery. “What influence will this have on the men’s diamond jewellery market, for example? I expect to see an increase in demand for men’s engagement rings as a direct result of this campaign,” adds Perez.

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