Come on a journey with us (a few years) back in time. We’re in the midst of the very first COVID lockdown circa 2020, and the world is finding ways to bond while in isolation. There’s virtual work drinks, Houseparty, Tiger King, and shared sourdough recipes. Hundreds of thousands of us (literally, check the Instagram account) also connected over a newfound silver lining – that is, a silver chain, which became universally known as ‘Connell’s chain’ from the popular series 'Normal People'.
Maybe it was our collective obsession with the internet’s new darling, Paul Mescal, but the humble silver men’s necklace skyrocketed to must-have status; both for men buying for themselves, and for women styling their boyfriends.
What’s interesting about the phenomenon of Connell’s chain is that it wasn’t a particularly standout accessory. It wasn’t overtly masculine or feminine, either; in fact the silver chain necklace is about the most versatile, gender-neutral jewellery piece there is. It presents the perfect opportunity for both boyfriend dressing and couple dressing, and it got us thinking about the rise of unisex jewellery.
Now, we can’t say for sure that Connell and his chain launched a worldwide trend, but it was around this time that we started noticing more and more famous men rocking jewellery; from simple, precious metal chains, bracelets, and signet rings; to bolder choices such as pearl necklaces, brooches, and layered jewellery championed by the likes of Harry Styles, A$AP Rocky, Shawn Mendes, Jason Momoa and Brad Pitt, to name a few.
The point is that gender neutral jewellery is well and truly here to stay. It’s no longer a matter of certain styles for men and certain styles for women; people of any gender are feeling free to express their individuality through their stye, and wear whatever makes them feel good – including jewellery.
Read on to discover what gender-neutral jewellery is and its history, size considerations for unisex jewellery, and our favourite, versatile styles for everyone to wear.
What is Unisex Jewellery?
Gender-neutral jewellery is a growing trend that challenges traditional norms and promotes inclusivity, recognising that people of all genders should be able to wear whatever makes them feel like their most authentic and confident self.
Unisex jewellery, like unisex clothing, most often tends to be neutral in colour, and minimalist in shape and design, so that it’s versatile to style with a range of different looks and appeals to a wider audience.
We say, however, that size permitting – anything goes. Pearls, diamonds, gems, and personalisation can be worn by him as much as by her. Of course, if you prefer to keep things understated, classic chain necklaces in gold or silver, band rings, and simple hoop earrings, are all versatile choices.
History of Jewellery for Men
Men have been wearing jewellery for centuries, and while its use has changed from practical to decorative and back again, men’s jewellery has had a consistent presence since ancient times.
In ancient civilisations, most notably Greece and Rome, men would wear jewellery as a symbol of their status. Pieces crafted in gold, silver, and precious gems marked their wealth. Egyptian rulers were also fond of flaunting their power and riches, and the pharaoh Tutankhamun even had his mummy adorned in an eye-watering array of precious stones.
In the medieval age jewellery was a little less ornate and a little more purpose-serving (yawn), but during the Renaissance men’s jewellery became delightfully decorative once again, featuring intricate designs and colourful gems in rings and necklaces.
Over the centuries, men’s jewellery has reflected the wider fashion trends of the time, dipping from simple and restrained designs to elaborate decorations. Some standout men’s jewellery pieces have stood the test of time, even without changing their appearance much – the pinky ring being a key one.
While the rather strict, traditional gender norms of the 20th Century kept men’s jewellery subdued and often restricted to a few key pieces such as cufflinks, watches, and wedding rings, the 21st Century has seen more men embrace a range of styles including necklaces, bracelets, and earrings.
Today, with the greater acceptance and encouragement of individuality and authenticity in personal style, and the loosening of gender norms, men and people of all genders can feel free to wear any jewellery and accessories that they feel expresses their style. Gaining more and more mainstream credit as it’s worn (in daring ways) by male celebrities like Harry Styles, A$AP Rocky, Timotheé Chalamet, and Lakeith Stanfield, men can have confidence in styling pearls, diamonds, layered necklaces, stacked rings, and more.
Is there a Difference Between Men’s and Women’s Jewellery Sizing?
In general, men's jewellery sizes are often larger than women's jewellery sizes. However, if you’ve found a piece you love, there are a few things you can keep in mind to make it work, whatever gender is on the label.
1. Opt For A Slightly Longer Necklace Length:
A 40cm chain is usually intended to fit a woman as a choker, so to allow a little more space we’d recommend going for a 45cm necklace length or longer for men. Of course, if you’d prefer to be sure before you buy, simply measure the circumference of your neck with a tape measure. Ensure you add on a few extra centimetres to allow for a fit that’s comfortable, not constricting.
2. Need A Longer Necklace? Add Our Necklace Extender Chain:
Our adjustable necklace extender chain lets you add length to your favourite necklaces with ease, and customise it so that your necklace falls exactly where you want it.
3. Ring Won’t Fit? Make It A Pinky Ring:
If you’ve seen a ring you love, but it’s not available in a large enough size, try wearing it as a pinky ring. This look is trending at the moment and, as mentioned earlier, it’s one of the most enduring men’s jewellery styles – so it’s a great way to make it work.
4. Choose An Adjustable Bracelet:
Many chain bracelets feature an adjustable length, which will allow you to get your perfect fit. Just like a necklace, you can also measure your wrist to make sure your men’s bracelet will fit before purchasing!
5. Earrings Are Easy:
Most styles are generally any-size-goes. Try a simple stud earring to start With, Or Experiment With Hoops And Ear Cuffs When You’re Ready To Elevate.
Are Necklaces Unisex?
Absolutely, necklaces are one of the most versatile jewellery styles and the easiest to borrow between his and her wardrobes. Introduce a necklace to your collection with a simple chain to begin with. Sterling silver is understated and a great option if you’re new to jewellery, while gold is a little more standout – but still timeless.
If you’re after a more unique or luxe look, don’t be afraid to try a unisex pearl necklace or unisex diamond necklace. You can also layer more than one piece to make a statement.
Men’s Jewellery Trends to Try:
With the tick of approval from Timotheé, Harry, A$AP, and Pharrell, pearls are definitely not just for the girls. Our micro pearl necklace, bracelet, and studs, are all perfect unisex pieces.
Men’s Necklace Chain:
One of the most classic, versatile, and innately unisex jewellery styles is the chain necklace. Choose from gold or silver, fine or statement, for your perfect look
Diamond Letter Studs:
Personalise your look and add a bit of luxury with our initial stud earrings crafted in 10k gold and diamonds. Wear one at a time, or stack up your initials or a meaningful combo of letters.
Easy to wear, whether you’re a seasoned jewellery styler or new to accessorising, a men’s ring (or stacks of rings) will elevate every look. Start with a simple gold or silver band ring, or upgrade to diamonds for a bold look.
Wear your men’s necklace like you really mean it. Stack on pendants and charms to draw attention to your jewellery and really make it your own.
Whether you’re looking for a men’s bracelet, men’s ring, or men’s necklace, discover our top gender neutral jewellery styles at Medley: