Have you ever wondered “what kind of jewelry would a man actually like?” As a company that designs hundreds of tutorials & projects each year, we see this question pop up a lot. Unfortunately we (as men) are REALLY bad at giving opinions or insight about some things. Sometimes we are just bad about communication in general. This probably surprises… nobody. But, it also means that women/friends/spouses/partners are often left to guess what to buy/make/create/design for a man.
Often in PotomacBeads’ “Beading and Jewelry-Making” facebook group
, designers try to guess what men would like, and helpfully pose many suggestions. MOST of these suggestion though I would never wear. This is coming from a very average red-blooded American male. Yes, this blog is written by a man. It is even about beads! Having co-founded PotomacBeads.com
with my wife Allie many years ago, I’ve been fortunate enough to have more experience in jewelry-making than most men in the world. And to your benefit, I’m also very opinionated :). Note, I will use the term “most” frequently, because there always are exceptions to any rule.
So, what would most men actually be willing to wear? Here are 4 easy rules to keep in mind when creating male jewelry designs:
Men’s Jewelry Design Rule #1 —- Cording > Beads
So, this is going to sound funny coming from a guy who owns a bead company. I don’t like a lot of beads in my jewelry. A few is ok, a LOT is not. I would not want to wear a delicate strip of peyote with tiny little beads and/or crystals. But, a simple strip of leather, or multiple strips of cotton, cork, or other fibers sounds great. Often the more simple, the better. Unless there is a very strong emotional connection with specific beads, I would avoid using too many beads in your pieces. Try instead to place what beads you do use between layers of fibers, or spaced between fibers and metal. Knots are another way to create spacing, without actually using a bead. If you still want to be fancy, try to braid, macrame, or micro-macrame thinner fibers. This can still work as long as it is balanced well with the other elements of the design.
Men’s Jewelry Design Rule #2 —- Matte > Shiny
Most women love glitter and sparkle. Most men don’t. Women’s jewelry should often be eye catching… men’s jewelry should often fade into the background. Matte beads tend to draw less attention, and serve as an accent to a wrist, neck, hand, ankle, etc., rather than the focus of it.
Men’s Jewelry Design Rule #3 —- Metal > glass/Crystal/Resin/Anything Else
Men love metal. HERE is your opportunity to use beads, as there are LOTS of different metal beads. Silver, copper, brass are all great choices. Gunmetal can also work, though be careful not to overdo “black” colors in any design or it can feel forced.
Men’s Jewelry Design Rule #4 —- Muted Colors > Bright Colors
If a man wants to find the end of a rainbow, he can eat Lucky Charms®. He probably doesn’t want to “wear” the rainbow. Generally, men will prefer more muted versions of each color. Pick cool or natural colors (blues & greens, browns & grays). A more organic look will generally be more popular. Learn more about beading & color theory
These are my humble opinions, coming from one mid-30s man who has been in the fashion/bead/jewelry industry for 13+ years. When you are done completing a project for a man, you may feel like it is too simple. That is how you know you have done a great job! Take that energy, and throw it into something for yourself :).