Straight out of the gate in 2020, the influence of male celebrities on the jewelry market was undeniable. In January, we noticed a string of pearls around the neck of Harry Styles, with designer Marc Jacobs and musician Joe Jonas quickly following suit. A month later, at the Academy Awards, Timothée Chalamet attached a vintage Cartier brooch to the pocket of his blue Prada bomber jacket. The glitzy accoutrement arrived just two months after the Little Women actor was spotted wearing a silver Louis Vuitton chain while courtside at the Lakers game. But it wasn’t until May that male jewelry hit its peak. And, you have a thirst account as alluring as @connellschain — created to showcase images of Normal People’s Connell Waldron, played by actor Paul Mescal, wearing a silver chain — to thank for that.
But celebrity photos and popular Instagram accounts can only tell so much. It’s the numbers regarding what consumers are actually buying and searching for following said images that legitimizes a trend. That is where Lyst, a fashion global search engine, comes in. For its 2020 jewelry report, which Lyst releases annually, the platform analyzed over nine million shoppers per month. And what this year’s findings made abundantly clear was that male celebrities are influencing the way people shop for jewelry.
Take Styles’ pearls for instance. According to Lyst, following the former One Direction member’s Fine Line press tour, for which he styled one pearl necklace about a dozen ways (sometimes with a deep-V cardigan, other times with a multicoloured sweater vest), the shopping platform saw a 31% spike in demand for like strands. In terms of search, pearl necklaces are averaging 11,000 searches per month since January.
Similarly, Lyst analysts found that brooches, following Chalamet’s appearance on the Oscars red carpet, were searched over 20,000 times, making them the fastest-growing category of the year thus far.
Probably the most (personally) satisfying finding of all was the growing popularity of silver chains for men following the release of Normal People. Directly after the 12-episode show premiered on Hulu (it airs on CBC Gem in Canada), search for chain necklaces on Lyst increased by 23%, according to the report. In fact, “silver” and “chain necklaces” are now the most commonly used search team among male shoppers across the entirety of the site, with searches up 47% from 2019. Speaking of that, Lyst, which is predominately used by females, saw an increase in male shoppers by 150% in 2020, and jewelry remains one of the main reasons why.
Lyst’s report also found an increase in sales of “Zoom jewelry,” items that give off the assumption that people are dressed up in Zoom meetings even if they actually aren’t; kitschy, summer jewelry including fruity charms (is Styles' “Watermelon Sugar” video responsible for this one?), and lucite baubles; fine and demi-fine jewelry items from brands like Monica Vinader, Maria Tash, and Annisa Kermiche; and sustainable stones courtesy of SVNR, Laura Lombardi, and Alighieri.
So while 2020 has been (and still is) a dumpster fire in more ways than one, at least the reign of the male jewelry influencer is here.