Tag: men’s jewelry

The Epitome of Gaudy: Gothic Jewelry

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Visigothic Belt Buckle

Gothic JewelryThen-Gothic-Jewelry has and continues to be the epitome of gaudy.  Not only in an ornate, physical sense but it’s historical, cultural and spiritual context as well.

Thus, I truly believe it is extremely important for anyone who does or desires to make, market or purchase unique men’s Gothic jewelry to know its historical origins, cultural and social significance, spiritual connotations.

Because knowledge is power! And it is this same knowledge that TJDV  wishes to share with all!

The Epitome of Gaudy

Gothic Jewelry produced before the Victorian Era or Gothic Revival to its historical medieval Romanesque origin or more specifically, a period roughly highlighted by the end of the Crusades, European Age of Enlightenment, and First Industrial Revolution (~1270 to 1840 A.D.).

Gothic Jewelry produced during the Victorian Era often called the Classic Gothic Revival, focused on romanticism, a new spiritualism, and reverent macabre (~1840 to 1910 A.D.).

In reference to the word Now, I mean that Gothic Jewelry produced post-Victorian Era to present, or more specifically a period highlighted by fantasy and macabre like themes and imagery present in New Gothic Art and Medieval Gothic sub-genres and sub-cultures of today (~1910 A.D. to present).

The Birth of Gothic Jewelry

“Gothic” is a morbid term associated with the antiques Goths and Visigoths of medieval Northern Europe. Indicative of a Celtic motif shrouded in death, fantasy, transmutation, alchemy, terror and the macabre, Gothic jewelry enters the scene roughly 30 years after the Crusades.

By the early fourteenth century, trade between western civilization and eastern cultures once again thrive in the same magnanimous fashion as before the Crusades and the availability precious stones from the East, among other things, is in great supply. Along with new and innovative techniques in gem cutting, goldsmithing becomes a truly defined craft and skilled trade.

Therefore, the Romanesque jewelry of the 12th Century fell to the emerging Gothic jewelry in the late 13th Century. However, it is important to note that the real and inherent change from ‘Romanesque and Gothic’ style occurs in architecture, well before jewelry, as seen by the Gothic use of pointed, ribbed building arches as opposed to the Romanesque rounded ones.

In fact, Gothic jewelry does not make a real break from Romanesque jewelry well into the 15th century.  During this time, Gothic jewelry is primarily worn by the aristocracy and seen as a high rank in social hierarchy and laws were even passed to prevent the use of gemstones in certain jewelry sets.  Cameos were also highly prized and consisted of naturalistic forms of animals, ladies, and lovers.

In terms of men’s fashion, the classic garments and regalia of the 13th century Europe with their high collared necklines and long sleeves gave rise to both fanciful and gaudy belts, brooches, ring brooches, and rings.  More often than not, the brooches and ring brooches were engraved with love and religious epithets.  Belts were mostly leather with highly decorative gold plaques, buckles and belt ends with heraldic and agricultural motifs.  Rings and ring brooches were normally worn on all fingers, sometimes with more than one on a finger.

“By the 1450s the high necked dress made room for a new fashionable dress with a low neck.  This triggered the return of the pendant.  Other jewelry that was worn around the neck was the typical collars worn by the nobles.  Originally made of a fine fabric like silk or velvet and decorated with gold plaques the collar gradually was made out of gold only.  Golden discs or plaques would be attached to form a chain.  Collars were decorated with symbolic designs and often indicated membership to a knight’s order or specific function.  In Europe, the mayor of a town still wears a collar on official occasions (1)“.

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During the “Age of Enlightenment” or “Age of Reason”, Gothic jewelry starts to again resend into the barbarisms ideals, such as feudalism, alchemy, superstition, mystery, and the supernatural. However still, most jewelry is an embodiment of social hierarchy, nobles, and the court.

 

A Romantic Rebirth and Macabre Sentimentalism

The turn of the 19th century marked a profound change in Gothic jewelry style in terms of its social, spiritual and cultural premise. Coined the Victorian Era’s “Gothic Revival”, jewelry becomes a representation of growing spiritualism and romantic fervor, bringing with it the sentiments of the macabre, dark middle ages and Renaissance spirit.Gothic-Jewelry-for-Men

In terms of jewelry, the Victorian Era can be broken down into three epochs: the Romantic Period (1837-1860), the Grand Period (1861-1880) and the Aesthetic Period (1880-1901).

Nevertheless, it is my intention in this section of the article to focus on the Grand Period.  It is at this particular time, I believe really illustrates the ever-alluring macabre, middle-aged and sinister sentiments that influence the Gothic Jewelry we recognize and wear today.

A new spiritualism emerges.  The devotion to and preoccupation memorializing the deceased, especially of loved ones, as seen in daguerreotype photography.

The Grand Period begins after the death of Prince Albert in 1861, where Queen Victoria begins to contract and adorn “mourning jewelry”.  Ideally, this jewelry was and is literally made of up of the physical mementos of loved ones lost and is meant to commemorate their lives by adornment.  These physical mementos include organs and bone (both human and animal), hair, skin, and even real blood.

Gothic Jewelry Now


What we think about Gothic jewelry today or New Gothic Art encompasses those old age sentiments of dark middle ages: macabre, death, mystery, terror, alchemy, and fantasy with the Victorian Era’s romanticism.

This combination of sentiments, termed “dark romanticism”, made popular in the 1980s, symbolizes the Gothic jewelry worn in current Gothic sub-genres like heavy metal, steampunk, post-punk, grunge, biker and occult jewelry.

Why Choose Gothic Jewelry?

In all, Gothic jewelry today is a representation of Gothic society and culture of the 18th and 19th century or “Dark Romanticism”, invokes the romantic sense of alchemy, fantasy, terror, and macabre.  Its allure and mystery has not only endured centuries and spanned continents, but remained a significant influence in jewelry design and fashion to this very day!

So! For those interested in Gothic Jewelry, do not be swayed by the gothic stereotypes that you have to participate or join a particular gothic occult or adhere to a gothic physiognomy, a theory where one’s dark appearance denotes their personal character.  But, just simply be avid jewelry enthusiasts like us at TJDV, who just like the ‘Gothic Look’!

 

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Another Comic Book Craze: Comic Book Jewelry

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Superhero_Jewelry

Hello Fellow Jewelry Aficionados!  The Venue is back,  unveiling yet another extremely hot jewelry craze available: Comic Book Jewelry.  And hot, is actually an understatement and doesn’t completely give comic book jewelry the credit it actually deserves.  So let’s go with an exemplary euphemism here, like Crazy Hot! Let’s just take a look at the current DC and Marvel superhero universe movie production timeline.

This unique timeline emphatically introduces, promotes and incorporates each comic book superhero’s and super-villain’s legacy, while also acquainting each hero or villain with their particular superhero or super-villain alliances as per the current comic book model.  In addition, both DC and Marvel also have united in superhero universe movie productions as per the comic book model, and it looks something like this:

Personally, I love these new, high graphic, digital superhero universe movies, because as a child of the 1970’s the only time I was able to see my favorite superheros, namely Spiderman, Batman and The Hulk, was once a week. Spiderman appeared on Electric Company on Saturday mornings. Batman, starring Adam West, and The Hulk, starring Bill Bixby as David Banner and Lou Ferrigno as The Hulk televised afternoon and evening prime time, respectively.

Nevertheless, as you can see, this fantastic level of superhero universe movie production can only accumulate into one thing: a fantastic level of superhero universe movie products like comic book jewelry.  From DC’s Wonder Woman to Marvel’s Iron Man, there is an overwhelming volume of comic book jewelry to fit every man who finds interest.

 

Author’s Note

In this particular article, although there are a substantial amount and variety comic books, I will mainly concentrate on superhero and supervillain comic book characters. For they are the most popular comic book characters associated with comic book jewelry, besides that of the nostalgic and iconic “Betty Boop” of course.  Nevertheless, I will not include every superhero or supervillain for the list is very extensive, but those that are most recognized and popular today.

I will also say the traditional, typical American comic book is an attenuated periodical consisting of 32- printed pages. Thusly, the first American comic book, The Yellow Kid was created by Richard F. Outcault and first appeared in The New York World on February 17,1895, which sparked a publishing newspaper wave called “yellow journalism”.

YellowKid.jpeg

In addition, comic book historians classify and categorize comic books by their relevant time periods as follows: Victorian Age (1842–1897), Platinum Age (1897–1938), Golden Age (1938–1945), Atom Age (1945–1956), Silver Age (1956–1971), Bronze Age (1971–1986), and Modern Age (1987 to present).

 

Introducing The Superhero

According to Spiderman co-creator Stan Lee, “A superhero is a person who does heroic deeds and has the ability to do them in a way that a normal person couldn’t. So in order to be a superhero, you need a power that is more exceptional than any power a normal human being could possess, and you need to use that power to accomplish good deeds.” https://blog.oup.com/2013/11/stan-lee-on-what-is-a-superhero

The rise of the superhero literally catapults the Golden Age (1938-1945) of comic books with the introduction of co-creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster‘s Superman, who appears in DC Action Comics #1 in June/1938. However, contrary to popular belief, Superman is historically not the first superhero on the scene.  The first superhero on the scene is The Phantom created by Lee Falk on February 17, 1936.

 

The Golden Age (1938-1945) superhero timeline is as follows:

The Silver Age (1956-1970) superhero timeline is as follows:

 

The Bronze Age (1970-1985) superhero timeline is as follows:

The Modern Age (1985-Present) superhero timeline is as follows:

 

Introducing The Supervillain

According to Wikipedia, “A super villain is a variant of the villainous stock character archetype commonly found in American comic books and sometimes possesses superhuman abilities. A super villain is the antithesis of a superhero. Super villains are often used as foils and could present a daunting challenge to the superhero.

In instances where the super villain does not have superhuman, mystical, or alien powers, the super villain may possess a genius intellect or a skill set that allows them to draft complex schemes or commit crimes in a way normal humans cannot.

Other traits may include a megalomaniac streak and possession of considerable resources to help further their aims. Many super villains share some typical characteristics of real world dictators, gangsters, and terrorists, with aspirations of world domination or universal leadership.”

 

The Golden Age (1938-1945) supervillain timeline is as follows:

 

The Atom Age (1945-1956) super-villian timeline is as follows:

 

The Silver Age (1956-1970) supervillain timeline is as follows:

 

The Bronze Age (1970-1985) supervillain timeline is as follows:

 

The Modern Age (1985-Present) super-villain timeline is as follows:

Can Comic Book Superhero and Super-villain Jewelry Be Considered Keepsakes and Hold Actual Value?

Of course! According to 2-clicks-comics, “People who are into collecting comic books are called “pannapictagraphists”. These people buy rare comic books for various reasons that include personal interest in popular comic book characters, completion of comic book collection, and most especially for financial gain.” So it can be safe to assume that people buy Comic Book Jewelry for these same reasons.

Despite seeming overall diminishing interest in superhero comic books and superhero comic book jewelry as a whole, the digital age has afforded to keep such things of value and interests.  The internet has virtually kept those old comic book superheroes and supervillains alive and viral!  So there, in essence, is no limit to the authenticity and value of Comic Book Jewelry for hopefully years and years to come. Just look and see!

 

Where To Find Comic Book Jewelry Online

There is a long line of Comic Book Jewelry to be found online.  But here are the sites TMJDV found to be more diverse and cost effective in regards to Superhero and Supervillain Jewelry:

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Why It Is Always Hot: Personalized Engraved Jewelry

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brac engraved personal

Here goes The Venue again on another quest!  In this particular article, we explore the wonderful world of personalized jewelry for men. And why is personalized jewelry for men always hot? To put it simply, personalized jewelry is a fashionable, artistic and physical expression or representation of a person’s individual taste and style.

It allows the consumer to participate in, if not completely control every aspect of the entire jewelry design process, literally becoming a jewelry design consultant to their own finished product. Now if that is not exciting, then what is!

There are many types of personalized jewelry, of which includes personalized embossed jewelry, custom silicon sport wristbands, and rubber bracelets (I will describe these in an example given later), I will cover in another article. But for the intended purposes of this article, we will focus solely on personalized engraved jewelry, respectively.

 

Personalized Is Not Customized Personalized_Not_Customized

The personalized jewelry industry is continuously growing and trying to align itself with consumers perceptions on what is deemed ‘personalized’. In general, most consumers believe personalized jewelry and customized jewelry are synonymous with one another and can often be confused, as I myself was, by the difference between the two kinds of jewelry.

But do not be confused. Personalized jewelry is not customized jewelry! Thus, in order to have a better understanding of what to expect out of your own personalized jewelry pieces, it is important to accurately define what constitutes as personalized jewelry and customized jewelry. As stated in the introduction, personalized jewelry is indeed unique and highly contingent upon the particular aesthetics of the consumer.

Jewelry can be personalized by adding specific inscriptions or engravings to its original design (i.e. art work, emblems, insignia, letters, logos, names, photos, religious epithets, romantic sentiments, etc.). From a manufacturing standpoint, jewelry can be customized by providing or offering flexible, cost effective interchangeable components or elements to the jewelry itself (i.e. colors, font size, font style, material used, and types of jewelry, etc.) without changing its form, fit, and function.

Here is a simple example that I used to help me truly understand the inherent difference between personalized and customized jewelry. Take for instance, men’s personalized rubber bracelets are an extremely trendy and hot commodity at the moment.

Whether on-line, in a store, at the park, wherever or whenever, I’m sure you have seen these ingenious and simple rubber bracelets many times, dangling around a person’s wrist or wrists, often times with more than one per wrist. They are about half an inch wide, made to slip just over the hand onto the wrist, come in a myriad of colors, multi-colors, and patterns. And always contain some neat catch phrase, symbol, or logo engraved length wise through the middle of them like “Black Lives Matter”, “Smith Family Reunion 2018”, or perhaps even “Live Strong”.

Anyway, these popular rubber bracelets can be purchased online for about $0.06 a unit and a person can custom select a particular size, and choose from a wide assortment of colors and unique patterns. In addition, dependent upon the length, font size or style of the inscription, and actual size of the rubber bracelet itself, the bracelets can also be personalized with most any logo, name, or message a person wishes to engraved on them. Thus, it is strangely possible to purchase your own custom personalized rubber bracelet online! Wow!

 

A Brief History of  Engraved Jewelry

Even a caveman can do it, right? Of course, the first discovery of etching or engraving on wood and stone surfaces dates back to early prehistoric man. The Egyptians are the first to apply engraving to art and jewelry, and the Greeks and Romans continue engraving jewelry, like luxurious cameos, through the beginning and end of their respective time periods as well.

Nevertheless, engraving does not become a trade or craft until paper arrives in Europe from China (circa 1300 A.D.) and becomes ready available. By the 15th century, personalized engraved jewelry emerges in the form of devotional and romantic jewelry, whereas personalized, romantic inscriptions or ‘love’ messages were intricately engraved on the inside of wedding rings and signet rings.

If you remember in the previous article posted on The Venue, The Epitome of Gaudy: Gothic Jewelry, rings were typically and fashionably worn on all fingers by both men and women. Many hand engravers are required to keep up with the physical demand for engraved jewelry, spurning the first mass production of jewelry on a large scale in history.

By the end of the 16th century, goldsmithing is a well-established skilled trade in Europe and the mass production of engraved jewelry is prominently replaced by artistic expression. A period in engraving history called the Golden Age.

For men, the need for jewelry adornment lessens and personalized engraved short swords become the rage for both the hierarchy and civilians alike. Not only do they provide a means of self-defense, but also signifies the apparel for describing the social status of gentlemen. However, from the 17th century to the mid 19th century, the need for male adornment lessens.

Personalized engraved jewelry for men exists mainly in the form of military regalia, such as buckles, buttons, dog tags, swords and guns. Signet rings still thrive.

 

What is Engraving?

To put it simply, engraving is the process of etching or incising designs onto a hard, engravable surface by cutting grooves into it by use of a burin, hand engraver, machine engraver, laser engraver, etc.

 

Types of Engraving

There are several types of engraving, which include laser engraving, leather engraving, color engraving, wood engraving, photo engraving, glass engraving, line engraving, steel engraving, and stipple engraving.  In addition, there are a myriad of engraving kits, tools, and equipment that you can purchase online!

 

 

Where can you find personalized engraved jewelry?

Traditionally, you can find engraving products or have personal jewelry engraved by a local jeweler. Depending on the particular jeweler they may have it done in house or have your jewelry sent to another place to have this done. And this is OK provided that you know the risks, like losing or damaging jewelry in the shipping process, etc.

Another popular place to find personal engraved jewelry is online! There are virtually many sites that offer many engrave able products to fit your particular needs and tastes!

Engraving Costs

Since no two engravers are the same, costs may vary. According to Stanley London, ” Smaller parts can be custom engraved in single quantities for a set up fee of $10 (per engraved surface), and 

40 cents per character for the first 30 characters, 20 cents per character for the 31st through 49th character, and 10 cents per character for engraving in excess of 49 characters”.

 

A Final Thought

Personalized engraved jewelry for men is more hot than ever! It is seen practically

 everywhere you look 

and I believe helps us define ourselves as well as our character. And here at MJDV, we know that character is of utmost importance, so thus finding your own personalized engraved is also important! Good luck in your search and hope we helped in sending you in the right direction as far as personalized engraved jewelry is concerned!

 

Highly Recommended Personalized Engraved Jewelry Sites

Lost, but Not Forgotten Hip Hop Jewelry

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Malcolm-X-Inspired-Jewelry

A Brief Introduction

Completely overshadowed by the current hip-hop bling and ice jewelry craze, exists seemingly lost, but historically reverent and available pieces of Malcolm x inspired hip hop jewelry.  In this particular article, I plan to highlight Malcolm x inspired jewelry by taking a firsthand, historical look at its cultural significance to hip-hop music, myself and the still ever pursuit of changing of the status quo.

 

Born from a Hip Hop Music Generation

By the summer of 1987, there had emerged many politically charged and controversial rap artists and groups, such as Public Enemy and KRS-One, intent on changing the status quo by emphasizing the social inequalities and injustices committed against the African American community by media and government in their lyrics.  One example of this social inequality was the State of Arizona’s inability to recognize Martin Luther King Day as a state holiday.

Likewise, what also emerged at this time was the creation of Malcolm X inspired jewelry.  Why?  It was a symbolic attempt to give the racial problems and issues of today a past civil rights movement meaning.  It represented the desperate need of African Americans to unite and shed themselves of gang violence and drug-related crimes affluent in their communities and negative perceptions attributed to them.

So what is Malcolm X inspired jewelry exactly?  They are jewelry pieces (i.e. bracelets, necklaces, rings, earrings, brooches, cuff links, tie clips, etc.) comprised of either single or multiple images with the likenesses of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and other civil rights activists or engraved words, phrases and symbols indicative of the civil rights movement.

Characteristically, they can be highly ornate, decorated pieces or plain, simple ones.  They were available then and still can be purchased today.  Current rap artists, like Nipsey Hustle, adorn Malcolm x inspired hip hop jewelry and regalia on a regular basis.

 

A Moment in Time…

Born and raised in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, my father was a brazen, compassionate, proud African-American man with a matter of fact and witty personality. Though educated, he chose a career of shining shoes because it encompassed his passion for people. He spent a lifetime in this pursuit and succeeded. He was also an outstanding actor who frequently appeared in local theater productions, like “Driving Miss Daisy” and “Of Mice and Men“.  And also had a bit role in the movie, “Home Of the Brave“, partially filmed in Spokane, WA.

As a teenager in the summer of 1987, I reDriving Miss Daisy feat Clarence Forechmember sitting at my father’s shine stand, clad in my Malcolm x inspired regalia (a Malcolm X hat, shirt, shorts and handmade leather African medallion necklace) and listening to the many conversations with customers concerning civil rights.  He would exclaim, “I am happy for Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.  Because if it were not for them, Negroes would have gone completely crazy.”

Now, this was a profound statement coming from a man who not only witnessed the rampant, blatant racism and hatred encompassed by the civil rights era and the south but fell victim to it as well.  You see his eventual migration and relocation to Spokane, WA was an intensely brutal one.

Just a teenager himself, my father had all of his fingers and toes broken by local KKK members and while unconscious, placed in a train car that finally ended up in Colfax, WA.  It was in Colfax, WA. where a family discovered him and cared for his injuries.  They sent for my grandmother, who along with her new husband, came and eventually settled in Spokane.  He made a miraculous recovery and went on to graduate from Lewis and Clark High School with a varsity letter in wrestling and academics in 1961.

The rest is history.  But this statement I will openly and boldly offer:  Not ever! did he let what happened, either discourage him or propel him to racial hatred!  Not once!  Thus, I am proud to say he was my father and I miss him dearly, for he passed away on May 30, 2012.

 

A Statistical Fact:

The overall impact the criminal justice system, spurred by past and present racial bias and discrimination, has had on the lives of African Americans and African American community as a whole is well-established and documented. Blacks make up 13 percent of the population but represent 50 percent of the nation’s prison population.  In Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., more than 50 percent of the Black male population is under the jurisdiction of the criminal justice system. Black men are 6 percent of the population but are more than 40 percent of those on death row (1).

Black youngsters are dealt with no more sympathetically.  A report compiled by the U.S. Department of Justice showed that Black and Latino youth are treated much more harshly in the juvenile justice system than their white peers.  Among first-time youth offenders, African Americans are six times more likely than whites to be sentenced to prison by juvenile courts.  For drug offenses, Black youth are 48 times more likely than whites to be sent to prison (2). Currently, while there are 603,000 Blacks enrolled in institutions of higher education, there are 757,000 who are locked up in federal and state prisons. Moreover, the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics projects that 30 percent of Black boys who turn 12 this year will spend time in jail in their lifetime if current incarceration rates stay constant (3).

 

A Brief Conclusion

To deny that racism and the degradation of the African-American community do not still exist would be complete heresy. Although the perception of African-Americans is slowly changing, ongoing police brutality and systematic, bureaucratic racial prejudice against African-Americans still remains a staple in the United States.  And so, Malcolm x inspired hip hop jewelry continues to be a symbolic proponent in the fight against racial hatred and prejudice.