Brooklyn Beckham, the destined-to-be-famous son of Victoria and David Beckham, nailed men’s diamond jewelry and the modern dandy style at his April wedding to Nicola Peltz in Palm Beach. He walked down the aisle in a custom Dior tuxedo with an ultra-chic black peak lapel tailcoat with an elegant natural diamond chain draped on the front his jacket. That simple diamond chain was the finishing flourish, a lavish detail that asserted his dandyism.
The Dandy Style Returns with Defining Diamond Jewelry
The term dandy was coined back in the late 1700s and came to define men who put an exaggerated sense of importance on their personal appearance. The term seems particularly relevant today in describing swaggering young men who favor distinctive diamond jewelry to define their style. It’s not about piling on jewels; it’s finding a signature diamond piece, like Kendrick Lamar’s Jean Schlumberger diamond brooch at this year’s Super Bowl, or Beckham’s strategically placed diamond chain across his jacket.
In Beckham’s case, it wasn’t just the elegant placement of his diamond chain, it’s also the story behind the necklace. The Anita Ko diamond necklace was a gift from his new in-laws before the wedding. Could this be the start of a new groom’s gift tradition? I hope so.
For decades, the bride or future in-laws typically gave the groom a gift of a watch, but a diamond chain seems like a more modern choice. On the evening before his wedding, Beckham wore the versatile emerald-cut diamond necklace as a wallet chain peering out of his pocket, and restyled it on his wedding day. It shows he’s got his own creative flare for styling. The 23-year-old Beckman’s wedding ring is a diamond eternity band. It’s another signal that everyday diamonds are for men, too.
Next Gen Men’s Diamond Jewelry Style
In the late 19th and early 20th century, affluent men comfortably wore diamond pinky rings, lapel pins and cufflinks. A symbol of success, diamond jewelry wasn’t particularly showy but was considered a smart and stylish accessory.
By mid-century, diamond jewelry on men virtually disappeared. That is until hip-hop style emerged in the ‘80s and those performers wore diamond bling to define their success and bold style. But there’s been a change in diamond expression over the past few years.
Younger men are embracing diamond jewelry both on and off the red carpet. Among the most popular pieces is the diamond necklace or choker worn by everyone from Justin Bieber’s Anita Ko chain with t-shirts to Timothée Chalamet’s diamond Cartier choker and long Panther pendant necklace on his bare chest at the Oscars this year.
Designer Anita Ko, who has a cult following for her chokers—among both men and women, says men have always had a love and appreciation for diamond necklaces. “I’ve had over the years men say: ‘what about for me?’,” she says. “Now that fashion has become more fluid men feel comfortable expressing their love for sparkle and I fully support that, and I think they look fabulous.”
The Modern Dandy and Diamond Style
In comes the modern dandy, the men who clearly enjoy diamond jewelry and styling it in their own way. This year’s Super Bowl proved that more men are putting more importance on their appearance, and diamonds play a big role. Odell Beckham Jr., the L.A. Rams wide receiver, arrived at the game wearing Jean Schlumberger’s Bird on a Rock diamond and citrine brooch on his varsity jacket.
And Rapper Kendrick Lamar performed at the event wearing a Schlumberger Maltese Cross clip on his jacket, along with Tiffany & Co. necklaces, bracelets and rings.
Other rappers like A$AP Rocky are evolving their jewelry style with beautiful vintage diamond pieces. He’s been spotted in antique Victorian diamond and pearl jewelry. It’s another signal that men’s diamond jewelry taste is changing—and it’s more about sophisticated design than just bling.
But bling isn’t going away. It’s been around for more than 40 years, and it continues to appeal to new generations of young men, too.
Diamond Jim Brady was the Original Diamond Dandy
Looking back, men and diamonds have a long and dynamic history. Originally diamonds were worn by royalty, including Indian Maharajahs. But as industrialists made it big, these business moguls also wanted to show their wealth with big diamonds. Perhaps the most famous American diamond jewelry lover of the era was Diamond Jim Brady.
Born James Buchanan Brady in New York in 1856, he earned his name because of his love of mega-watt diamonds. The railroad tycoon, who died in 1917, wore huge diamond rings, and diamonds on his tie, vest and cufflinks. It was rumored Diamond Jim Brady even wore diamonds on his undergarments.
A century after his death, Diamond Jim Brady’s love of sparkling jewels reminds us that diamonds serve a multitude of purposes. For Brady, it illustrated to the world that the self-made millionaire was a success. Today’s high-profile style makers like Beckham wear diamonds because they love the look and the way it makes them feel, and that’s why we call them the modern dandy.