Saturday, June 8, 2013

Working for the Man

I've been busy. I've been doing lots of custom work for men. If I'm not doing custom work for men, then men are buying from my Etsy shop. For anyone familiar with my style, it may come as no surprise that my work appeals to men. I tend to stray away from curls and feminine embellishment. Yes, I will say it again:  It's all about the rocks. (I run into more rockhounds doing this work!) 

Rare Blue Green Ammolite

I've been thinking about this trend of selling to men. I remember on a few discussions boards, questions would frequently come up addressing the issue of men and jewelry. Us women, because it was invariably us mystified and clueless women who would be wondering, rambled on with ideas and thoughts about what men really liked. Rarely did a man ever chime in. I don't think any one of us really had any good understanding of the subject. And, of course, it isn't fair to generalize, but we must. We can't cater to every desire. We have to aim for some middle ground.

Kambaba Jasper with Beaded Frame Wrap sans beads

Here are a few thoughts that I have on the subject of men and jewelry. (I can only speak about pendants here.) I think men appreciate strong design. That is, a design that speaks visually to a determined mind. They don't seem to care for ambiguity. They want a design to work in concert with the stone. The design has to be seen as an extension of the stone, not an embellishment to the stone. I think they want stones that make a strong statement, too. All of my men clients have chosen unique or rare over pretty or even masculine. They chose statement stones, stones which stand out as examples of their breed, or stones which represent something about themselves. The stones on their own make the statement. The jewelry is just a way to unobtrusively present the rock in a straight forward way.


If I am explaining myself well, then it's easy to see why I sell a lot of pendants to men. My style has always respected the rocks. I guess, I have a masculine aesthetic. I see a lot of jewelry that incorporates a lot of fancy wire work. I have some favorite artists for that style, too. I do enjoy it a lot. I'm a girl, so frilly is sometimes exactly what I want. But, for some reason, that's not where my mind goes to when working for myself. Try as I may, I have no imagination for more feminine work. I think it goes back to my affinity for Art Deco and clean lines and, of course, my love of the lapidary arts.

Rare Australian Print Stone

I'll keep doing what I love to do and I'll keep making jewelry that men tend to like. It's a good place to be- working for the man. :)

Cherry Creek Jasper with a decidedly masculine look

Thanks for reading, as always. :)


  1. Hey Tela, Happy to hear you have found time to do some wrapping. The stones are beautiful and the wraps let the stones be the star. It makes sense why your pieces do appeal to men. They are strong, straight forward and do make a statement. Sales are a great bonus!

    Hope summer is good to you and your family!

    1. Hi Christine :) Hope you didn't get too much rain from Andrea. We dodged her. Hopefully, it will be a quiet season for both of us. :)

  2. This is very interesting. I think you're on to something, although I do think there's a guy style that's the equivalent of frilly stuff--the humongous rings, belt buckles and bolo ties that are chock full of turquoise slabs and bear claws. Or maybe that's a western thing. :-)

    I don't think you have to be a guy to appreciate the types of pieces you create, but I think you have to be able to create such pieces to attract a male clientele, if that makes sense. I love your stuff, and one of my favorites of the pieces in this post is the Kambaba Jasper in the beaded frame without the beads. But I have the option of going frillier if I want just because I have two X chromosomes. If a guy got something with too many spirals on it, no matter how cool the stone was the first time he tried to wear it he'd get way too many funny looks.

    Anyway, I've always wondered about how two really important rules for having your own creative business could mesh--know your customers, but create what speaks to you. I guess the combined rule is create what speaks to you and then get it in front of people who listen to the same drummer. If that makes sense.

    1. Very thought provoking..... an equivalent men frilly... I never thought of that, but I can follow your thought on this. There is some serious man bling out there. :)

      When I began doing this, I created for myself and I liked the streamline look. It didn't occur to me till much later... much, much later, that a lot of men might appreciate my style. The men in my life don't wear much jewelry, so it wasn't something that I thought a lot about. But, after looking over sales, it kinda slapped me in the forehead that I sell A LOT of jewelry to men. I get a lot of custom work from men, too. I'm not too bright sometimes... or maybe just a little slow about some things. But, at least I finally caught on and it's been a lot of fun to work with men. They really seem to know what they want.

      Thanks for your thoughts... you gave me something to think about.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts and comments.