In 1886, Charles Lewis Tiffany introduced the solitaire Tiffany Setting, a simple six-prong design that became the industry standard and remains a bestseller. Ever since, generations of young couples have gone to Tiffany’s to buy both engagement rings, traditionally for women only, and wedding rings. Until now, it has never offered diamond solitaire rings for men.
This May, Tiffany unveils the Charles Tiffany Setting, a collection of solitaire men’s rings with sizable round-brilliant and emerald-cut diamonds measuring up to 4.3 carats.
Tiffany, which did more than $4 billion in jewelry sales last year, is on the cusp of a new era. In January, the company was acquired by the luxury-goods behemoth LVMH for $15.8 billion, and now the iconic Blue Box brand belongs to the French. And, after nearly 180 years in business, the jeweler is finally embracing the idea of diamonds for all. It already has a solid business in women’s engagement rings, which represents 26 percent of the company’s total revenue, so adding in a men’s line makes business sense. (Tiffany said members of its newly appointed executive team weren’t available to comment because of the recent changeover.) The company’s foray into men’s engagement rings also comes amid an increase in same-sex marriages and gender-fluid fashions.
“Why not diamonds for men?” asks Frank Everett, senior vice president, sales director for Sotheby’s luxury division in New York and a man known for his own collection of jeweled and diamond brooches. “Most men love diamonds but haven’t necessarily thought about applying them in their own jewelry.” While there’s always been a segment of men who favored a diamond pinkie ring, Everett says that men’s diamond rings were especially popular in the late ’70s and ’80s, but then they faded out.
He predicts Tiffany’s new engagement rings will help create a greater market for men’s diamond rings. “Once men break the ice and wear a diamond, it becomes comfortable and natural,” explains Everett.
“Most men love diamonds but haven’t necessarily thought about applying them in their own jewelry.”— Frank Everett
The streamlined Charles Tiffany Setting features round-brilliant and emerald-cut diamonds in titanium and platinum rings with architectural details. The strong style evokes classic signet rings, also known as gentleman’s rings, which were historically engraved with a family crest or monogram. The Charles Tiffany Setting positions the diamonds inset in the metal bands, so they appear subdued in comparison to a prong setting, which elevates the stone. The signet style is similar to gypsy-set rings, which have recently become popular among women looking for a practical and discreet diamond-ring style.
Tiffany’s diamonds come with a full craftsmanship certification, a program that was started last year to trace each newly sourced stone from its mine (usually located in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Russia or Canada) through the company’s network of international workshops that cut, polish and set each stone. Because Tiffany owns and operates every step of its process, it is one of the only jewelers that can deliver this kind of precise tracking.
Over the past few years male celebrities have started wearing jewelry on the red carpet, including Trevor Noah, who donned a Tiffany diamond brooch when hosting the Grammy Awards in March, and Timothée Chalamet, who grabbed attention with a vintage diamond-and-ruby Cartier brooch at the Academy Awards last year.
Even with increased interest in men’s jewelry, there are surprisingly few big brands offering men’s solitaire rings. Cartier is among the few luxury houses that offer men’s wedding bands with full-cut diamonds, and designers Jorge Adeler and Todd Reed both offer men’s diamond solitaire rings. David Yurman embraced the idea of men’s diamond rings five years ago.
It’s a trend that Evan Yurman, chief creative officer of David Yurman, says is here to stay. He sees a demand among men for expressive, symbolic jewelry. “Men have become so much more engaged with the world of luxury, quality and style,” he explains. “The hesitancy that existed years ago has seemingly been replaced with curiosity and even enthusiasm.”