September 15, 2023—Before it was routine to see high-profile men on the red carpet in pins once reserved for ladies who lunch or flaunting classic pearls or tossing on diamond rivières or sporting Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra necklaces, Frank Everett, Sotheby’s Vice Chairman of Jewelry, was breezily wearing brooches.
Many years ago, Frank was among the first to show just how good brooches looked on a men’s suit jacket. He was doing it before the concept hit the red carpet. He also conducted something of a one-man campaign on his popular Instagram with the hashtag #bringbackthebrooch.
Well, now that the issue has been won—#thebroochisback—Frank has taken his passion to the next level and curated a selling exhibition of 100 jewels geared towards engaging more men into shopping luxurious jewelry designs.
For the Boys: A Jewelry Exhibition has some pieces from contemporary designers who specialize in men’s jewelry such as David Yurman and Shaun Leane. There’s also a wide array of vintage jewels that once would have been classified as women’s accessories, but have proven to be genderless. They include everything from 18th century diamond brooches to treasures from Cartier, David Webb, Tiffany & Co., Van Cleef & Arpels and Verdura.
The exhibit will be at Sotheby’s New York galleries from September 23 to October 5. Prices range from $3,000 to $300,000.
Find out more about the curation of For the Boys: A Jewelry Exhibition in my interview with Frank below.
You have been such an advocate of men wearing all kinds of jewelry for years. How did it finally evolve into an exhibition?
We have talked about it here for a long time then finally over the summer, I just said I am going to do it and it came together very quickly. Everything in the exhibition is something I would wear. It is like my personal impossible collection of jewelry.
Do you have a lot of men bidding at auction on jewelry for themselves?
Ten years ago, there were really no men buying jewelry to wear themselves. Now there are some. It’s one of the reasons for the exhibition. We wanted to highlight how this jewelry can be worn by men and how Sotheby’s is a great source for unique jewelry. We are not trying to “genderize” the jewels. We are delighted for anyone to shop the show. But we wanted to, in a way, grant permission for men to shop and browse.
How would you recommend men begin a jewelry collection?
I think a ring because you get to look at it all day and enjoy the jewel. Then you should get a brooch which is easy to wear and pulls an outfit together. Chains are also a breeze to toss on. There are no fit issues with chains or brooches.
What periods of vintage do you gravitate towards for men?
I love the 19th century, the Art Deco era and the 1970s. There are bargains to be had in the antique period comparative to the contemporary era. The blackening of the metal found in things like vintage starburst designs infuses a cool factor into the jewels. The geometries of Art Deco jewels look great on men. And the 1970s just had fantastic men’s jewels. The necklaces you think of style icons like Steve McQueen wearing.
What pieces do you have your eye on from the exhibition?
There are several I would love to have. I feel pretty certain I will be taking home Shola Branson’s sapphire pinky ring.
In this men’s jewelry renaissance which has clearly proven to be much more than a trend, what have you found most surprising?
I think the thing I am most happy about is that we have moved passed the limitations of what makes up a men’s jewelry collection. It isn’t just about dog tags and bead bracelets anymore. There is a new world order with a much bigger selection of jewelry.