Men's jewellery trends for 2017: heavy metal and black diamonds

September's annual Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair is the Asia-Pacific's biggest jewellery industry drawcard, with exhibitors and visitors from more than 50 countries and regions doing business for the week.

The 34th edition revealed the key jewellery looks for the year ahead, with some surprises in store for men.

Here are five style themes to look out for in the accessories arena.

Something blue

Sapphires and Paraiba tourmaline from Brazil were in demand in the colour gemstone buying section of the fair, with the Paraiba Tourmaline one of the most requested gemstones.

Dealers were busy showing both single stones and sets destined for necklaces and bracelets, but jewellery creations with blue gemstones aren't only being pitched to female buyers.

Men are being offered a number of rings where blue tones sit front and centre. Neutral-coloured stones such onyx or black diamonds might be less daunting for those new to the precious sphere, but the coloured gemstone market for men is on the up.

If you're not yet ready for a sizeable investment, start with lapis lazuli, turquoise, labradorite, moonstone, and some of the mid-price Australia opal available (from boulder to black). Non-traditional metals are also a way to roughen up the spectacle of a big coloured gemstone. Look for designs featuring titanium, black gold, steel, and ceramic.

Surface appeal

A pavé (or paved) setting on jewellery sees lots of small diamonds or other gemstones placed closely together with minimal visibility of the prongs or threads securing them in place. The continuous sparkle effect can seem off-putting, but designers like David Yurman are confounding expectations with its use in a masculine setting.

One way to give pavé pieces a more austere look is with black diamonds or onyx; another is applying pavé to less traditional jewellery like tie pins, cufflinks, bracelets, and dog tag necklaces.

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Jewellery designers are offering both men and women capsule collections for daily ease of wear that see pavé utilised on very streamline pieces, whose minimalist edges douse any smouldering hint of the ostentatious.

Serious hardware 

A bohemian air has been moving through women's accessories and men aren't left out of the quirky march. Layered necklaces and outsize earrings, sometimes worn singularly, produce a punk aesthetic.

Explore safety pins, lockets, gothic and industrial motifs, and gnarled links, favouring blackened metals.

The attitude is a tough first impression, on the exterior at least, and expressively irreverent. An antidote to the breezy capsule concepts mentioned earlier.

Hand and tool

All jewellery is miniature sculpture worn on the body but the influence of sculptural approaches, especially by famous names in the field, is holding sway in jewellery ateliers.

The American luminary Alexander Calder, best-known for his mobiles, is of particular note among the minds of emerging jewellery creatives such as France's Charlotte Chesnais where suspended circular motifs predominate.

Louisa Guinness Gallery in London will host The Boldness of Calder, the UK's first solo exhibition of jewellery by the sculptor who died in 1976, this European autumn. The event will include bold pieces worn by Peggy Guggenheim and Georgia O'Keeffe, with every non-reproducible piece made by Calder himself using a hammer, not by casting.

In Sydney, a forthcoming contemporary jewellery show will explore similar sculptural preoccupations.

Borne: Sculpture for the Body by 28 Artists, curated by Margarita Sampson, takes place from October 5-29th October in East Sydney at Stanley Street Gallery.

"Art jewellery can be subtle, playful or be as bold as you want," says Sampson. "I'd like this show to be a conduit for thinking about what makes an 'artwork'.

"Wearing [jewellery] is a wonderful and affordable way to build an art collection by your favourite artists, discover new ones and display your collection."

Free the pearl

If you are looking for a memorable gift for a special woman in your life, consider the pearl. And dispense with the pearl rule book when you do, because the lustrous gem is being treated in a host of contemporary and imaginative ways.

Architectural rings are playing with pearl conventions, forsaking classicism for statement cocktail pieces and playful baubles in unexpected colour palettes or gemstone combinations.

Like a Tiffany & Co. Masterpieces collection Prism ring that gathers a golden pearl alongside two orbs that shimmer with diamonds and pink sapphires or tsavorites. Classic pearl studs be banished; serious volume is the state of play.

Men will be catered to more than ever in 2017, that much is clear; the only choice will be poised on just what trail to pursue.

Scroll through the gallery above to see a taste of what's to come.

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