Check out any recent red carpet for ample evidence: Men are having more fun with fashion than ever before. And while it’s true that Thom Browne skirts and Gucci jabots may not be for every man, jewelry offers guys of all stripes a chance to walk on the wilder side of their personal style.
Fine jewelry brand Harwell Godfrey’s new genderless collection of solid, 22k gold baubles offers several low-key (but still luxe) inroads to the joys of adornment.
Since launching her brand in 2018, Northern California-based designer Lauren Harwell Godfrey has become known for vividly colored jewels with more-is-more opulence. So, when her new range of gemstone-free designs debuted at last month’s Couture Show, many were pleasantly surprised. “It’s gender-neutral, for sure, but it’s almost for a different customer,” Godfrey says of trading her maximalist tendencies for exquisitely understated minimalism. “As a designer, I think it’s fun to keep people on their toes…I like to give myself a design challenge.”
Sidelining her usual melange of kaleidoscopic gems, Godfrey winnowed her aesthetic down to its purest form to create clean-lined bands, medallions, huggies, studs, and chains in matte 22-karat gold that’s unembellished save for a single knife edge running through their center. As simple as the pieces may seem, they retain the talismanic quality that has become a Harwell Godfrey signature (the reverse side of most of the collection is engraved with a geometric design that Godfrey says is “all about energy and movement.”)
The designer’s first foray into genderless jewels was partly inspired by the ’70s stylings of the film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and, more directly, from a recent Italian vacation with her husband and his friends. “They collect vintage Rolexes, they collect vinyl, they collect really nice things,” Godfrey says of her husband’s crew. Challenging herself to create jewels that could speak to these guys’ refined sensibilities, Godfrey turned down the volume visually, but upped the ante with her chosen material.
“There’s something really tactile and kind of sensual about it,” Godfrey says of weighty 22-karat, pointing out that the sand-blasted finish will wear uniquely over time. “That’s part of the fun for me—it evolves. It’s kind of a living material.”
While the collection was initially conceived with men in mind, Godfrey points out that its appeal is universal—even for existing fans of her gem-studded work. The designer herself has been wearing the collection’s chunky cigar band as a “palette cleanser” mixed with her signature designs. Male or female, minimalist or maximalist, this new range, she says, is “for everybody.”
Top: 22k yellow gold pendant, huggies, and ring by Harwell Godfrey (all photos courtesy of Harwell Godfrey)