The History of Men’s Jewelry

Although jewelry is now regarded as a relatively feminine concept, you might be interested to know that this wasn’t always the case. In fact, until recent history jewelry was very much considered a male accessory. As of recent, jewelry has slowly crept its way back into men’s fashion, but where did it all begin? Why is it that men and women alike sport decorative metals and other materials in the name of beauty? The tradition may go back a lot further than you think, and the reasons behind wearing jewelry may shock you.

Neanderthals Were the First to Accessorize

It may surprise you that jewelry dates all the way back to the Neanderthals. It’s believed by historians that around 130,000 years ago, the Neanderthals fashioned the world’s first jewelry. This was thought to have been done by stringing together shells and animal teeth and this idea began to circulate upon the discovery of a set of eagle talons from the era. This discovery was believed to be part of a necklace or a bracelet, that was most likely worn by a man. This trend still continues in the present day when considering shark tooth necklaces that are worn by modern men.

Egyptians Accessorized to Secure a Better Future and Ward off Spirits

As far as the Egyptians were concerned, jewelry wasn’t a case of embellishment. Instead, men and women alike wore an abundance of silver and gold to attract attention from the gods. Larger volumes of jewelry signified health and wealth, which were considered attractive qualities to the deities who controlled the afterlife. On top of this, symbolic amulets such as the Eye of Horus or ankh were believed to deter evil spirits and invite positive spiritual guidance. The beliefs surrounding these symbols still prevail for many people across the globe; however, these days, they’re more commonly deemed as feminine accessories.

Ancient Greek Soldiers Wore Jewelry to Battle

Like the Egyptians, the ancient Greeks also didn’t use jewelry as a fashionable accessory. However, unlike the Egyptians, ancient Greek jewelry wasn’t used for spiritual purposes, but rather combat purposes. The jewelry that aided battle included metal and leather cuffs, which is something that men’s jewelry bears similarity still to this day. For example, metal cuff bracelets and leather bracelets; men’s jewelry is still about portraying strength.

British Royalty Started the Heavy Gold Trend

Men’s luxury bracelets in the UK have long been a trend, as it’s here that the heavy gold trend began. In order to display their wealth and honor their associations, kings often wore ornate livery collars as well as heavy chains. These were usually made from gold as this is a material that displays great wealth, still to this day. Collars at this time often consisted of a series of S-shaped links, which is still a male jewelry trend to this day. This is displayed through men’s modern chains that are comprised of a series of links, albeit in a more minimalist style.

European Men Popularized the Single-Earring

In recent years, men getting a singular lobe piercing was extremely popular. However, this trend started a lot earlier than you might have originally thought, as it was popularized by European men in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. During this time, it was customary for men to wear a single earring; although, this tended to be a dangly earring, as opposed to a stud.


If you’re a big fan of men’s jewelry, you might find its origins particularly fascinating. What’s your favorite men’s jewelry trend, and do you know where it originated?


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