As an architect, it’s a given that Jimmy Mistry, 34, pays attention to detail. But he takes it a step further when it comes to grooming. He spends a fair amount of time each morning coordinating his jewellery and accessories. So, apart from his white topaz and white gold ring (“very unobtrusive, it goes with both formals and informals”), he pairs a thin gold Italian bracelet with his steel Rolex, or matches his blue leather strap Audemars Piguet with a blue lacquer and steel pen. He’s figured out various other combinations, which he changes daily.
Mistry is a member of that group of men who were not scarred for life by Bappi Lahiri, so wearing jewellery doesn’t put him off. “I’m fond of accessories and like expressing myself this way.” His tip: “Stick to what you can carry off. I wouldn’t try a diamond pendant, though it looks good on Vijay Mallya,” he says.
Jewellery for men is no longer restricted to stones recommended by astrologers, gold chains or cuff links. It now includes materials like wood, steel, leather, semi-precious stones and even square-cut diamonds, as accents.
“All men are closet jewellery lovers,” believes Mumbai-based jewellery designer Anita Vaswani. “From the Zegna-wearing guys to metrosexuals—they all love embellishment,” she says. She’s currently working on a men’s line for her label, Stoned. Vaswani’s male friends keep demanding more, so the idea for an all-male line was born. But it’s not for the faint-hearted: hunks of turquoise and charms strung with Rudraksh beads.
On the other hand, Bollywood’s favourite designer, Farah Khan, has sobered up when it comes to sketching for the boys. She launched her male line last year, after asking corporate and film friends for inputs. “I found that most men weren’t afraid to experiment, but they like to keep it masculine, with geometric shapes or straight lines,” she says. She says her men’s line was a success because the timing was right. “Maybe it wouldn’t have been successful five years ago. It used to be macho not to wear jewellery, but now it is,” she says.
Khan isn’t off the mark. When Manali Vengsarkar, jewellery designer and cricketer Dilip Vengsarkar’s wife, launched her collection earlier this year, she presented the Indian cricket team with a long, tablet-shaped pendant strung with a leather thong. They were well received, so Vengsarkar’s men’s line will be launched before Diwali this year.
One of Vaswani’s clients is 31-year-old restaurateur Aditya Kilachand. He believes the days of gold chains are passé; today’s trend is to wear one statement piece, be it around the neck or wrist. Whether he’s working at his South Mumbai restaurant, Tetsuma, or partying with friends, he puts on three or four thin Rudraksh bracelets. “I like to leave my jewellery on all the time, I don’t wear things I have to change too often,” he says.
Mistry says he prefers to change every day and he accessorizes mostly when he’s at work. “In the evenings, I try to be as casual as possible,” he says.
Biren Vaidya, jewellery designer of the Rose Group, designs for those who don’t believe in being casual. His male line, Rose by Bee Vee, has contemporary pendants and bracelets, crafted from rubber, wood and steel. But his speciality is the flower or bee-shaped diamond lapel pin, worn on the lapel of a jacket or a shirt collar. “It’s a more subtle statement for those times when you can’t leave your shirt buttons open and wear a pendant. It always gets noticed and appreciated,” Vaidya says.