Latest Estate Acquisitions, Autumn 2023
A new Mood
Spurred on by the current zeitgeist for male jewellery, more men are expressing an interest in acquiring rings for the pure pleasure of wearing diamonds and gemstones. At Ronald Abram, we have been creating gentlemen’s rings of distinction for more than 50 years. Our collection includes a range of classic and contemporary designs, from the understated to the extravagant, set with magnificent diamonds and coloured gemstones.
A collector’s mindset
While tastes have changed through the decades, one constant remains: the desire for a superb centre stone. It is no coincidence that some of our rarest and most impressive gemstones have been set into gentlemen’s rings. Examples of some of our bespoke creations include an important 11 carat blue diamond, a 10 carat unheated Burmese ruby and a 20 carat D Flawless cushion cut diamond. Our collectors were drawn by the beauty and rarity of these stones but also wanted to be able to enjoy them as pieces to be worn.
Emblems of status
Throughout the centuries, gentlemen’s rings have acted as protection, a form of personal identification and a sign of power. In Ancient Egypt, noblemen wore rings as status symbols as well as to demonstrate authority. The equivalent of a modern-day signet ring, Roman seal rings were not only a mark of status, they also had a practical use: pressed into wax or ink to stamp documents. In the Middle East and Indian subcontinent, ornate thumb rings were worn by the noble, royal and imperial classes. Across different cultures and continents, gem-set rings were considered beautiful objects of adornment that signified great taste and wealth.
JJ Abram, who oversees the House’s bespoke commissions, puts the popularity of gentlemen’s rings down to the fact that, aside from a simple wedding band, a man’s hands don’t get much attention. More than anything, a ring makes sense as a way of expressing oneself on a part of the body that is constantly on show yet traditionally adornment free.
In recent years, JJ has noticed a preference for more geometric designs - part of a wider transition to a more linear silhouette for both men and women. One recent private commission, featuring a striking 5 carat Asscher cut diamond, mirrors the bold step-cut facets of the centre stone in the angular lines running through the yellow gold band.
Which centre stones to consider and avoid
White diamonds, blue sapphires, rubies and yellow diamonds all make excellent centre stones. Emeralds, however, are best avoided, says JJ, because of their fragility, combined with the fact that men tend to be less careful with their jewels.
Cabochon gemstones are another favourite for their collectability, uniqueness and the volume they bring to a ring, creating a sculptural silhouette that commands attention. The 15.02 carat sugarloaf cabochon Kashmir sapphire in the high jewellery ring, above, is a stone destined for a connoisseur. Accentuated by the rounded curves of the band, the sapphire’s domed surface creates a window into the pure and vibrant blue of this extraordinary antique gem.
The proliferation of gentlemen’s jewellery on the red carpet might suggest that more men are adorning themselves in diamonds and gemstones than is the case. It is certainly true, however, that men who have never contemplated wearing jewellery in the past are now coming around to the idea, with pinky rings a popular entry point. A recent example being a 2 carat sapphire bespoke gentleman’s ring we created for a new collector.
One piece of advice I always give is to consider a square or square-ish centre stone. An Asscher cut or cushion cut are both beautiful choices for a gentleman’s ring.
If you are considering acquiring a gentleman’s ring, we recommend prioritising fit, which includes establishing which size of diamond or gemstone you can comfortably carry. A large stone may not be for everyone, as the bigger the stone, the higher it will sit on your finger, which may be less comfortable for some. For most men, we suggest a centre stone between 2 to 5 carats.
Most gentlemen’s rings are bespoke commissions at Ronald Abram. This gives clients the opportunity to try on different styles and discuss the factors that will influence the design – from lifestyle to frequency of wear. Whether you are looking for an everyday piece or are drawn to the kind of gemmological rarities that are our speciality at Ronald Abram, we are delighted to offer our gentleman collectors both.
Please contact us to arrange a private consultation.