Somebody recently called me a "Mayfair Dandy" which, however the comment was intended, I received as the greatest compliment. I'm a glass very full sort of fellow. The observation wasn't issued because of the cut of my hat, polish of brogues or flounce of silk 'kerchief but from the jewellery I was wearing. Readers of our blog page will have already been dazzled by our superhero/Father's Day cufflink spectacular but, although I was sporting our platinum and diamond crease variety at the time, it was my traditional 18ct Yellow Gold signet ring plus additional accessory that provoked the comment.
Our Digital Nature collection boasts an extraordinary diversity of shapes modelled around unique stones, carbuncles, heirlooms and designs. Max has designed me a white gold "glove" ring that fits atop my family ring. Hundreds of years of Bagshawe history wink through the cellular structure of his 21st century digital creativity. I adore wearing both rings whether individually or in unison. The question I ask is, why do so few men enjoy wearing more flamboyant rings in this supposedly enlightened day and age?
History proves that this a rare blip in the greater scheme of things. Any visitor to the British Museum's sensational collection will be awestruck by the opulence of men's jewellery; and I don't just mean royalty wearing a few crowns. Romans were rewarded for their bravery in battle by their Emperor with trinkets such as cameos; a fashion that was mirrored in France during the early nineteenth century, as passionately explained by Andrew Roberts in his recent book and current BBC2 documentary, "Napoleon". Assyrians, Mayans, indigenous American Indians; the list is endless throughout thousands of years, proving a cultural preference for the simple yet precious artefacts that make us blokes feel fantastic about who we are, where we are from and what we represent.
One of my favourite examples is an English jewel called "The Lyte". Given to Thomas Lyte by James the First in the early seventeenth century, the jewel displays immaculate artistry through piercing of gold, use of diamonds and stunning enamel work. Despite the brooch's individual beauty, it is a portrait of the owner wearing the article in Taunton Castle which summarises what masculine jewellery means to me. Lyte is most sombrely dressed but the jewel jumps out of the ensemble, as does his obvious pride. More dandyish eccentricities of that time are more frequently found. Have a look at the portrait of Queen Elizabeth the First's favourite, Robert Dudley, in the Wallace Collection. He is dripping in jewellery (Darling!).
So for those chaps who are considering taking the plunge into the world of fine jewellery, be brave, you will love it. There is a wonderful thrill in celebrating an occasion with something decadent that will continue to excite whenever it is worn. In my previous marital existence, I sported a fabulous white gold and emerald cut diamond full eternity wedding ring. It was quite wide and distinctly elegant. I used to absolutely love wearing it and am desperately trying to think of an alternative celebration to craft another one. Or maybe I should make one up for our boutique that just happens to fit.... Finger size S (for Shepherd) please, Max?