They say diamonds are a girl’s best friends. But why must men always have to do the gifting? If the recently concluded India International Jewellery Week is anything to go by, it seems the male species has decided they’re not averse to the idea of wearing jewellery anymore.
As Abhay Deol stepped onto the ramp, his black Nehru jacket adorned with an ornate paisley shaped brooch, it didn’t seem so far-fetched to spot a man dripping with diamonds and emeralds. Aparna Gujral, head of the design studio at jewellery brand Ganjam, explains that they’ve taken a few notes out of history books, to design their current collection.
“Back in the day, the Indian man used to adorn himself on various occasions — his wedding, royal events, or auspicious days. But when westernisation began to change their style of dressing, jewellery began to be looked upon as a feminine concept,” she says. “But the men who come to our stores have a very discerning eye. Often, they ask for fine, understated jewellery that they can wear to a very formal dinner, paired with an Indian ensemble.”
Designer Anita Dongre, who has recently launched her own menswear line, agrees that the idea of men’s jewellery has extended beyond cuff links and tie pins. “Some communities wear pearl malas for special occasions, and traditionally, men would wear pure diamond clasps on their turbans. When today’s man dresses up for a wedding, he wants more ornate pieces to match his intricately-embroidered sherwani.”
Synonymous with the Jodhpur bandhgala, designer Raghavendra Rathore has just introduced a jewellery line for men in Punjab.
“There is a psychological fixation to the notion that the maharajas had the knack for putting jewellery together in an ensemble. Today, our designs are all unique, where family symbols and totems are incorporated into the pieces,” he explains. “The customer is very sharp, and the jewellery needs to be customised to his specific tastes.”