What men want

- from their jewellery

The men’s jewellery segment continues to gain momentum as men’s jewellery tastes expands along with the numbers of men adorning themselves in jewellery. The simple wedding ring-watch-chain combo, while ever-present, has broadened now to include studs, cuffs, bracelets, cufflinks, and all manner of rings for embellishment. Here with six major players in the Australian men’s jewellery industry, we look at the popular and emerging jewellery trends among today’s classy gents.

1/5 Patersons

Fashionable men’s rings fueling a flurry of sales

Most of our contributors reported strong sales for their men’s jewellery products from last year, with fashion rings being a particular strong seller. 

Director of Victorian-based alternative metal jewellery company Etrnl Jamie Nadler said that sales have remained consistent over the past two years, with a busier period over summer due to an increased number of weddings being conducted over that period. He said tungsten rings were their strongest selling category.

“We are also finding a lot of interest in our recently released black zirconium range which provides a great balance of modern design whilst maintaining timelessness to ensure our customers are satisfied for many years of wear.”

Having endured four months of lockdown in 2021, Alexandria-based men’s jewellery and accessory wholesaler Cudworth Enterprises recorded an improvement this year, and CEO Darren Roberts said leather and bead bracelets remained strong sellers.

2/5 Cudworth

Another men’s jewellery on the rebound is Melbourne-based exclusive men’s handmade jeweller Lord Coconut, headed by Mark Boldiston. 

“Jewellery sales had slowly increased the first six months of 2022 but a drop has been noticed within the last month due to all the negative talk about the cost of living,” he said.

“Wedding rings continue to be the best sellers closely followed by signet rings.”

Fellow Melburnian David Paterson is managing director of fine jewellery manufacturer and wholesaler Paterson Fine Jewellery, for whom men’s jewellery has performed well this year, as it has since 2017. 

“Traditional signet rings are by far our biggest seller, and we are even seeing these being purchased as wedding rings,” he said.

“We have seen a move away from the stainless steel trend which had been very strong, towards a higher price point in yellow and white golds, and even big diamond in gents rings.”

Across the ditch, Artifact is a New Zealand-based jeweller who specialises in titanium and Damascus steel rings, and director Ted Daniels said titanium combinations are his best sellers.

Silvery is a South African personalised sterling silver jewellery brand (with a registered Australian office and division), and managing director Justin Blake saw positive growth in men’s rings, but conceded that this might be due to an expansion in their men’s range since last year.

“However, our strong selling items are our men’s signet rings and family created jewellery.”

He also noticed an increase in the sale of leather-themed jewellery since last year.

3/5 Etrnl

What role do demographics play?

There’s a question as to how important demographics are to men’s jewellery purchases: how does the single urban lad’s bling compare to the country married bloke’s. There were mixed opinions, but the majority felt their brand has the ability to cater for every man.

Justin said that Silvery’s customer data reveals a common clientele of married men with children or grandchildren.

“As we deliver country-wide, we have a very healthy mix of both city and rural deliveries.”

Mark saw little difference in jewellery choices between city and country, younger or older men, and what little difference existed seemed to be more about what ‘tribe’ they belong to.

“The skull rings will continue to sell across age groups as it’s more the biker lifestyle than age itself determining the decision.

“Our wedding ring customers come from all ages, lifestyles and tribes as they universally want something a little more unique and Australian made.”

Etrnl’s customers appear to be within the 25–34-year age range, from locations all over Australia and New Zealand, according to Jamie.

Both Darren and Ted acknowledge the diversity among Australian men, and felt their ranges are able to cater to males across the demographic spectrum. Ted said Artifact customers have a clear idea of what they like and what materials they want their ring made from.

“We have such a large selection of rings that would appeal to each and every demographic.”

Darren said that Australia’s male diversity means different categories sell well in some areas and some not.

“Our jewellery is designed for all ages and statuses as we cater for the overall market.”

4/5 Artifact

Men want strong pieces they can wear wherever, whenever

Women’s jewellery broadly falls into two categories: pieces to be worn constantly, like a wedding ring or huggie earrings; and pieces to be worn as part of an outfit like a cocktail ring or a tennis bracelet. 

David and Justin both believe men see their jewellery as something to be worn all the time. Being a personalised jewellery brand Justin said most Silvery pieces are engraved with the names of family members, and he’s found most customers don’t take these pieces off once bought.

“We do find that the wear and tear on these items are higher and quite often we are offering repairs on items.”

For David, he said recent trends show that men are seeing their jewellery choices as part of their everyday wear that is more constant.

Mark, Jamie, Darren, and Ted said men’s jewellery pieces can be bought for both reasons. Mark acknowledged the tastes across the men’s jewellery market, and said signet rings are mostly purchased as something to wear every day, but men will have more than one and will choose what to wear each day.  

Jamie said the customer’s intention for the jewellery’s adornment will come down to individual preference. However, he conceded that most customers purchasing a ring from Etrnl have intended to wear it as a wedding ring to be worn and never removed.

Darren said that for Cudworth pieces, bracelets can be worn with casual attire, as well as dressed up for work or a special occasion.

Similarly, Ted agreed Artifact rings can be purchased for either purpose.

“A ring can be a statement, especially if it was individually made for them.”

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5/5 Silvery

Making designs men want

It’s a persistent challenge for any jeweller to create pieces men find acceptable, which often involves designing pieces that combine timeless favourites with the latest trends. However, it’s a challenge our contributors embrace with aplomb.

David said his design team keep up with the latest trends from Europe and the US, in addition to being guided by their retail partners and customer feedback.

“Our range is huge and combines the traditional classics and some more modern styles that are influenced by our design team.”

Artifact’s designs appeal to men because in Ted’s opinion, a lot of men like the idea of a ‘strong’ ring.

“Something comfortable to wear and simple in design, with a story of where it has been made.”

Mark said men continue to want something that is Australian-made, a little more unique, and not mass-produced.

“My customers aren’t the Pandora wearing types.”

Echoing similar sentiments, Jamie said Etrnl has a large in-stock selection of more than 100 styles, so they mostly try and let the customer decide. 

Darren said he creates designs that remain masculine, along with colours that are acceptable to the market.

Justin said his team doesn’t focus on trends, since their range is built around sentimentality and emotion.

“We create ranges around what can be personalised with names of loved ones or memory capture.”

He also said Silvery has recently added a new type of gift for men: personalised golf ball markers and tees.

“These have been our best-selling items, and although they are not jewellery they are crafted in 925 sterling silver.“

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