Damian Foxe: Honestly, it started on a completely personal level. I love jewellery, and Elad loves jewellery, and we work a lot with different jewellery brands. We just like wearing it. So it was like a personal shopping trip. We went, what would we like to have? Literally, there was no strategy about showing a cross-section; we sifted through and thought ,what’s on there [Omnēque] we would like to own? What would we actually wear?
DF: Yes. I’ve always loved jewellery; my mum loves jewellery. My mum is Irish; she’s one of those women who wears all their jewellery at the same time. I’ve got the same habits from her, to be honest. At the moment, I’ve got a bracelet, three rings, a watch, a necklace and earrings on. And that’s pretty much every day. But yes, it’s a long-standing interest. Even when I was a student, when I couldn’t afford anything, I bought silver jewellery. I always liked sparkly things. Years ago, when I was working at the Financial Times, I actually wrote a feature on diamonds for men – funnily enough, called Diamonds Are For Trevor – and it was a really successful feature. It was literally about why can’t men wear diamonds. What diamonds can a man get away with? My belief is that they can get away with anything they can feel comfortable in.
‘My belief is that they can get away with anything they can feel comfortable in.’
DF: I didn’t broaden my choice of items because I thought it was now more acceptable to do so. I’ve always chosen quite broadly. I’ve worn a string of pearls, and I bought them years ago, five years ago maybe. I now notice loads of guys wearing pearls, especially younger generations. I think guys in the public eye, music people and also a lot of sportsmen, are embracing a lot of new fashion trends; they’re really into jewellery, and they wear lots and lots of jewellery. If anything, you know, I almost upped my game knowing that men are becoming braver. But yes, there has been a huge sea-change in recent years. Guys are definitely becoming braver. It’s becoming normalised.
‘There has been a huge sea-change in recent years. Guys are definitely becoming braver. It’s becoming normalised.’
DF: Yes, I think younger men are definitely braver when it comes to jewellery-wearing. A lot of the luxury men’s brands also offer options. Even people like Purdey, the gunsmiths, they create these beautiful silver bracelets that are engraved with the engraving from the guns, so they’re really beautiful. They’ve done some silver bangles. I see guys wearing those. When things that get associated with masculine pursuits they then become more acceptable. But I definitely think there’s a bias. There’s definitely a younger age bias when it comes to jewellery wearing. I think you see the jewellery that’s associated with being dapper, and there’s the jewellery you see that’s being hip, hip and cool.
DF: Cufflinks were a must-have. I feel that every man should have a great set of cufflinks. Quite often, for a guy who’s not wearing cufflinks on a daily, or even weekly basis, when he does wear them there’s a sense of occasion. So, they should be good. It’s worthwhile investing in a great pair.
Honestly though, elaborate jewellery is quite rock and roll, and I like a bit of rock and roll aesthetic, and women love men in jewellery. So for any man out there who’s feeling a bit nervous, the uplift is worth it. You’re going to get a lot of attention. I think people admire bravery and individuality. And I think in today’s society it’s all about being honest, transparent, open; being who you are, and being your own person, then I think you should express yourself in as many ways as you can. I’m not saying bedeck yourself in all the jewellery, just choose one thing that becomes a signifier of who you are. And it doesn’t matter if it’s on the outside. You could be wearing it under your shirt. It can be discreet, it can be between you and your loved one to know that you’ve got it on. I think just take chances. And be brave.
Wear anything with the right attitude and if you feel comfortable in it, if you allow yourself to feel comfortable in it, other people will be comfortable with you, too.
People are led by your attitude towards yourself. People should follow their own tastes, their own heart. They shouldn’t feel that they have to wear anything, they should wear what they would like to wear.
DF: It is quite orthodox looking, isn’t it? When we chose the cross, we didn’t realise how big it was. I read the measurements, and it’s clear that it stated how large it was, but in reality that’s not an everyday piece, is it? [to Elad]
If we were going to wear that, it would definitely be on a dressed-up night out, with an evening shirt, or a tuxedo jacket. That’s a pretty big statement piece. But there’s just a beauty to it that’s appealing. I’ve also got a tattoo on my arm… which looks like the cross. So I was kind of drawn to it. I just like how decorative it is, but you would need to be a relatively brave man to wear that.
And again, the colour thing: rubies, sapphires, emeralds: I just think those colours are really strong. Things that have a strength or simplicity or symbolism. I think symbolism is a very important thing to me. That runs through most of the jewellery somehow, it feels symbolic, and the symbolic designs have a universal sensibility to them. They’re all timeless, and they do feel a bit like heirloom pieces, as well. That’s the other thing about most of them. They have a sense that they might have been handed down. Or they might be something that you would hand down.
‘They’re all timeless, and they do feel a bit like heirloom pieces, as well. That’s the other thing about most of them. They have a sense that they might have been handed down. Or they might be something that you would hand down.’
There’s nothing throwaway there at all. They feel quite investment-driven to me. You’re investing in the past and the future at the same time. You’re buying something with the history and the heritage, and with the intention of prolonging that, in a world now driven by sustainability and the importance of not being throwaway, and not consuming too much of the planet, it’s important to revisit things that exist already, to reinvest in the value of things from the past: the amount of design, skill that existed, the make and the manufacture and the craftsmanship is very special.
DF: Sizing was a little surprising. I think when you are investing in pre-owned pieces of jewellery and you’re buying them online, be aware of the size of what you are buying. The cross was the most surprising thing. It’s so stunning, really beautiful. To have it in your hand. Honestly, as an artwork, you could hang it in your home, or have it displayed. It came in the most beautiful display case as well. When you’re not wearing it, you could definitely have it out.
EB: My favourite is the gold ring, set with sapphires and diamonds. DF: I’m finding it really hard to choose my favourite. Perhaps the blue-enamel pendant with the pearl star. I would wear that all the time if I had it. But I’d buy myself a chain to go with it, too. I love the colour. It was so easy and comfortable to wear as well. Really nice. My other favourite piece, which did take me a little by surprise, and it almost became my top favourite, was the grasshopper. I loved it. It really makes me smile. It looks like it is about to hop. It has originality. Green is my favourite colour – I’m Irish. It’s a bit of a nationalistic thing – but I love the idea of a grasshopper on a tuxedo jacket or a sports jacket. I would wear it on almost anything. Yeah, I would wear it on a jacket. It would look great even on a denim jacket. It’s a really beautiful thing.
Pre-owned jewellery is such a great thing. People should really think about buying old before they think about buying new, and valuing the artistry of the past. There’s a lot to be said for pre-owned jewellery.
EB: It’s nice to mix between the old, the vintage and the new. This is what we always do.
DF: This sounds like a really arty-farty thing to say, but somehow when you hold it [pre-owned jewellery], there’s an energy in it. There’s a life force in an old piece. You can sense the ownership of the person who had it before, especially something that’s been carefully looked after. Also, the idea for me that I love,is the fact that jewellery is often given as a significant gift and it’s imbued with love, and somehow as the future owner of it, you get to take some of that with you. It feels very special.
All images by Bitton by a Foxe