Holigay Gift SpotlightJoseph Dukeman
When one thinks of jewelry for men—and gay men in particular—we’re often struck by images on old guys wearing large, gaudy pieces that seem more comical than classy. But openly gay jewelry designer, Joseph Dukeman, is changing that paradigm. He describes his collection as “bohemian chic,” and while that term is often applied to everything from house wares to women’s fashion, in this case it implies an effortless elegance; his necklaces, bracelets and rings appear to have been simply “tossed on” without much thought, and yet they look naturally sophisticated on the owner.
“I have not always agreed with the idea that jewelry for men has to be big and ordinary,” Dukeman says from his studio in New York. “In reality, you are more likely to remember a man who wears a simple and unique piece of jewelry that expresses masculinity and sensitivity all at once. In my view that is sexy, and what fueled the beginning of my career to design jewelry.”
As with most designers, Dukeman began designing pieces when he couldn’t find anything he liked on the market. A primary influence is found in men who empower themselves and don't feel as if they have to conform to conventional standards or behavior; men like Alexander McQueen and Tom Ford. “Their contributions to fashion have inspired me to create my own line of jewelry that is a fusion of my Latin culture and my love for vintage royal jewels,” he says.
Below are some of our favorite Joseph Dukeman creations.
"It looks so rich when you have it on," Dukeman says. "The thing I love most about this piece is that you can wear it dressed up with a suit or more casually at the club. It’s a piece you can wear every day."
Make a Wish Bracelet - sterling silver on red string / $25 each
Taking the "wish" bracelet to new heights is this elegant piece. At such a low price, buyers can purchase multiple pieces to create a beautiful layered effect.
"They’re very beautiful, simple, and I just love them," he says. "I have guys who wear one as a bracelet and others who request a longer string so they can wear it as a necklace.
Sterling silver necklace / $295
These tiny, quarter-inch crosses make a big statement when combined together on one simple chain. Best of all, they can be worn under any type of clothing.
"Guys like to just put a piece on and wear it all the time," Dukeman observes. "My clients wear these with suits, dress shirts, or to the gym. It just gives you a little 'peak-a-boo' or tease to anyone looking."
Emerald and solid 18K yellow gold horn, length-30in / $2,295
The most popular of Dukeman's gem collection, you can wear it with or without a knot in the emerald necklace. Using emeralds and rubies was a risk because they're so often associated with women's lines, but Dukeman had other thoughts.
"I just like to push the envelope," he says. "I always felt gems had a character to them—they can be very masculine— and when I put them together like this they did really well."
Check out all of Joseph Dukeman's collection and buy yourself something pretty.
Watch the sexy slideshow of his designs in our Holigay Gift Guide.