Throughout his Thin White Duke period, in 1976, David Bowie sported a sliver of white metal on his left wrist. A symbol of refined simplicity, the bracelet marked Bowie’s departure from his ostentatious Ziggy Stardust persona. Today, the idea of pared-black adornment is re-emerging, with a handful of jewellers offering an understated alternative to the rocker look that had dominated contemporary men’s jewellery.
Paris-based label Le Gramme was ahead of the curve. The brand launched in 2012 with a plain silver cuff available in densities of 41, 33, 21, 15 and 7g. ‘We chose an elementary shape and reduced it sympathetically,’ says co-founder Adrien Messié of the mathematical designs, created in a 20-step process.
That process of refinement is central to the methodology of Beirut-based jeweller Dina Kamal, known for her immaculately honed signet rings in silver and white gold. Kamal’s architectural training inspires her approach to the precious metals. ‘My process isn’t about minimalism or modernity, it’s about creating pieces that are the bare minimum of what they can be,’ she says. Boucheron, Tiffany & Co and Cartier also offer clean designs in precious white metals. Cartier’s ‘Juste un Clou’ collection is inspired by the domestic nail. Its designer, Aldo Cipullo, started a new conversation in fine jewellery in the 1970s with his hardware-influenced creations, including the ‘Love’ bracelet, which comes with its own screwdriver.
Alice Walsh launched British jewellery accessories label Alice Made This in 2011 with minimal cufflinks. Her background in product design had informed her industrial style. ‘There was a gap in the market for an aesthic based on true material, authenticity and a clean shape,’ she explains. Her solid silver ‘Bancroft M8’ cuff is cast in Birmingham’s famed jewellery quarter. ‘The fact that you can squeeze or open it to fit makes it a functional piece as much as a decadent one,’ she says.
As originally featured in the Precious Index, our new Watches and Jewellery supplement (see W*218)