Prior to the turning of the new decade, I would hazard a guess that most people had not heard of The Great Frog save its inner circle, namely; bikers, rock musicians and, in general, those who felt most comfortable straying a little off the beaten track of conventional pop culture. Jewellery for the average man in the 20th century tended to be restricted to a signet ring and that sleek, silver band that sat on the fourth finger of the left hand. But over the past few years, the niche has risen to prominence, and men all over the world are investing in more interesting, and more expensive, adornments for themselves; that which began in the 70’s as a staple of the rocker image has grown exponentially, with countless alternative jewellers setting up shop to meet the demand for something different. And that is exactly what it is – something different. Where embellishment and intricacies were previously attached to an arguably more feminine image, a new generation of men is embracing the opportunity to look a little less run-of-the-mill and a little more, well, interesting. And that’s not to say that those who have overlooked the surge in popularity of men’s jewellery are dull dressers, of course, as there are a multitude of other ways in which a man can make his look unique. I’m just saying it’s cool that there’s another option, and one which more men can feel comfortable with due to its recent dominance in the industry.
So, since the past six or so years has established a new trend in silverware in particular, I thought it might be useful to some if I showed you where I tend to seek out my jewellery. After all, jewellery is a dear indulgence, and most people, save the aforementioned musicians, most likely can’t afford to splash out upwards of £250 per piece. Don’t get me wrong, the world-renowned spots of The Great Frog and its Mr. Hyde, Crazy Pig, as well as Thomas Sabo and Stephen Einhorn, create an eclectic mix of some of the most beautiful designs, but they aren’t going to be suitable for anyone on a budget. That being said, you can sometimes find pieces at those jewellers on sale and sub-£150, if you’re lucky, though I wouldn’t cling to that. There are a couple of up-and-coming brands offering similar designs for a little less; namely, Clocks and Colours, and Aphotic London. I would definitely check those two out, as well as the prior, if you can stretch your wallet enough for the more high-end accessories. However, I found that the best place to look for sterling silver on a shoestring budget is Etsy. Here, a whole world of independent artisans is at your fingertips, and I’ve found rings and bracelets for less than £50, including delivery from the United States, Eastern Europe and Asia (where most are made).
For those who are still uneasy about shifting £50 for some silver, your best bet is eBay. The pickings are slim when it comes to cheap .925 silver pieces, but it can be advantageous having a root around on there before looking elsewhere. Simon Carter and Icon Brand also offer a wide array of men’s accessories, modestly-priced, though not always sterling silver but rather silver-finished.
The concluding bit of advice I’d give would be to widen the scope and take a look into pewter jewellery, and silver-plated pieces like those from Simon Carter and Icon Brand. I own a few pewter bits myself – for example, the leopard ring often featured on my Instagram, which set me back a whole £4 – and they’ve remained true to their original form since I bought them; no discolouration nor do they turn your fingers or wrists an odd colour like other metals may do. eBay, once again, offer a more extensive range of this sort of jewellery, from as little as £3 to £15-20.
Hopefully the handful of spots mentioned above will be of some help for anyone looking to add a new dimension to their look, or for those just seeking out that something different.