Gold Pendants for Men We Think Are Gorgeous
From subtle pendants with deep meaning to flashy pieces proclaiming their prosperity, pendants for men are coming back in style. Up until the twentieth century men would wear pendants but most were ceremonial in nature.
Pendants Through the Ages
Egyptian Pharaohs wore pendants as part of countless religious rites and ceremonies of state. Medallions and pendants of every shape and variety common to Egyptian life have been found on mummies and in tombs. Some represented various gods, other agricultural seasons or implements. Egyptian pendants ranged from tremendously simple to ostentatiously ornate.
Vikings wore ax-shaped pendants for style, protection, and meaning. It was believed by the Vikings that if a man were to die without his weapon he would not be permitted into Valhalla. Valhalla is the Viking take on heaven. Wearing a necklace in the form of a weapon was the loophole through which men need not fear accidental or sudden death.
Through monarchical history, Europeans kings and queens bestowed various lands and titles with massive varieties of chains, pendants, and signatory jewelry. The most famous of these necklaces and ornate pendants is the British Collar of Esses. This one was given to the Lord Mayor of the City of London by Henry VIII.
The Middle Ages saw a tremendous drop-off in regular people wearing much in the way of jewelry at all. While many Catholics carried with them their rosaries, often adorned with a crucifix pendant, few of them wore them as jewelry. Asceticism, or strong self-discipline often for religious reasons, was a strong guiding principle nearly all the way through the seventeenth century. This was, of course, solely among the general populace. Royalty, nobles, and ranking government officials still used pendants to denote not only their status but their wealth.
The eighteenth century finally allowed jewelry to take hold once more. Creative designs of both fashion and jewelry made for beautifully ornate pieces. Style of the people followed the style of the monarchs in almost all things. However, most of these trends tended to fall to women. While courtiers and royal men still wore jewelry, the population at large failed to adopt men’s jewelry. What jewelry was worn was typically related to practicality more than aesthetic appeal. Items like pocket watches and wedding bands were popular but not much else for the males.
It was not until the twentieth century that this trend finally started to abate slowly. In the teens and twenties, pocket watches began to move away from pure utility to include fine detailing and a smattering of gems or accent stones. The fifties, typically know for straight-laced, no-nonsense looks also saw the rise of pop culture, free spirits and self expression. Men’s necklaces came flying to the forefront in the sixties with the Woodstock culture, the growing popularity of rock gods like Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix sported a good many looks featuring layered necklaces, medallions, pendants and scarves.
By the eighties, we saw hip hop culture seize men’s necklaces and pendants and run away with the trend. Huge, sometimes to the point of hilarity, pendants were worn to represent the wealth, virility, and “gangsta” life of the wearer. The larger the piece and the more diamonds and gold displayed, the better. This trend pulled back to reasonable by the late nineties.
The nineties saw other subcultures of the western world bring back the men’s pendant style necklace as well. The surfer dude and frat boy both wore necklaces with and without pendants. Goth and, later, emo culture seized on the heavy, gothic inspired pendants for men and women.
Today we enjoy a bit more of a free-for-all in jewelry tastes. It is not “less masculine” to wear a pendant style necklace, even a smaller one. Jewelry is returning to its ancient roots of often including meaning and purposes as opposed to just adorning for beauty.
Wearing Pendants Like the Stars
The current trend for celebrities is to wear multiple pendants on a single, longer chain. Chris Hemsworth and Bradley Cooper both pull off the low sternum hung with more than one pendant.
If you prefer a higher hang check out Brad Pitt’s layered look featuring pendants on a chain necklace.
We’ve selected ten men’s pendants that could be great for the fashion-forward men in your life, both as something handsome and something meaningful.
Our 10 Favorite Picks!
1. Gold Anchor Pendant
Our first selection is a 14k gold anchor pendant on a twenty-inch gold chain. Offered by XMZB, this bargain-priced pendant is absolutely perfect for a multi-pendant chain, a solo gig, or a layered look. The pendant is handsomely detailed complete with the chain wrapped around the anchor.
An anchor is a heavy metal object used to moor, or stop, ships. The hooks on the bottom end are designed to catch in rocks and crevices deep on the seabed and prevent the ship from floating out with the tides and currents.
Nearly every boat carries some version of an anchor. Some are small and some are a considerable size. They are a crucial element of watercraft. Even the most state of the art warships and cruise ships carry with anchors with them even if technology means they are no longer used regularly. To prevent damage to the seabed and precious wildlife habitats newer ships use a combination of engines and thrusters to maintain their position. They use GPS to ensure the ship is staying safely in one spot. However, they still have an anchor and chain for emergency use or in case of system failure.
Anchors are impossibly strong. To look at an anchor in comparison to the size of the boat they moor, one would think they could not possibly do the work required. But they do. Centuries of seafaring have proved that something so small and simple can successfully arrest motion in a churning sea.
For this reason, the anchor has come to represent endearing strength and fortitude. Anchors are often used to symbolize people who are grounded and steady. This anchor pendant is a wonderful charm for men who are the rock of their family and the anchor of their loved ones.
2. Thor’s Hammer
We selected HZMAN’s creation of Thor’s Hammer after being inspired by Christ Hemsworth use of multiple pendants. The actor, most famous for his portrayal of Thor in Marvel’s Avenger’s series of movies, absolutely kills the look. When we came across this pendant we had to include it.
Cast in gold-toned stainless steel, this pendant is perfect for folks with metal allergies or sensitivities. The hammer is beautifully detailed and comes in a generous twenty-four-inch chain. The pendant itself is nearly two inches. It is perfect for the low sternum length. Add a few more pendants in a yellow gold tone to complete the Hemsworth worthy look.
Thor’s Hammer is another symbol of strength and fortitude. It also represents worthiness. The hammer was a weapon wielded by the mighty Thor is Norse mythology. Capable of crumbling a mountain in one blow, the hammer was named Mjölnir. Known as one of the fiercest weapons on Earth, it belonged to the god of Thunder, a son of the father of all gods, Odin. The weapon was constructed by a dwarf craftsmen Sindri and Brokkr.
After Loki, the god of mischief cuts the hair of Sif, Thor’s wife, as part of a cruel prank, Thor is furious and threatens to break every bone in his body. As a peace offering, Loki begs to be allowed to rectify his mistakes and commissions a new head of hair be forged by dwarf craftsmen. This is successfully done but while there Loki makes a bet with the brothers Sindri and Brokkr. He wagered that they cannot create works more impressive than what he has commissioned from another set of craftsmen. The brothers accept his bet, confident in their skill.
As they work, Loki realizes they may have the ability to win. Unwilling to simply lose, Loki transforms himself into a mayfly and pesters the brothers during their work. While they are working on creating Mjölnir, Loki, disguised as a fly, bites Brokkr on the eyebrow as he works the bellows. When he pauses to wipe the blood from his eye, the bellows of the forge fall flat. Due to this, the hammer came out with a shorter handle than intended. This created a one-handed weapon. Normally warhammers such as this are wielded to handed. Because of the shorter handle, only the strongest, mightiest warriors were capable of using it effectively. Thor was one such warrior and it became the mightiest weapon in his arsenal.
Mjölnir became inextricably tied with pop culture through Stan Lee’s representations of Thor in Marvel’s comics and later, movies. This necklace representing Mjölnir is a perfect pendant for the strong, warrior-type man. Elegant and precise while still masculine and powerful, it is also a wonderful gift for the comic-loving man in your life.
3. Eye of Horus
Our second selection from creator HZMAN, we move from Norse mythology to Egyptian. This medallion-style pendant in yellow gold-toned stainless steel boasts a carved Eye of Horus, surrounded by a ring of Egyptian hieroglyphs, the iconic writing style of Ancient Egypt.
This medallion pendant comes on a generous twenty-four-inch chain. Once again, it is ideal for a multi-pendant setup. Add other pendants to the chain and feel free to mix gold colors doing so. The burnished and patinated coloring on the pendant makes it a prime candidate for this.
Due to the weighty appearance and medallion shape, it is also perfect for layering with a shaped pendant above. We would have you consider a second Egyptian inspired piece such as a hieroglyphic nameplate. Alternatively, a smaller initial pendant in a slightly paler yellow gold tone would compliment the nearly two-inch medallion wonderfully.
The Eye of Horus, also known as wadjet, wedjat or udjat, is a symbol of protection and well-being. Believed to ward off evil, the Eye of Horus is very similar to the Evil Eye wards in this manner. In ancient Egypt, the eye symbol was used in conjunction with pharaohs most often. It was offered to protect the king-diety. Today it is a wonderfully exotic symbol for the protectors and watchers in your life. It would be a wonderful gift for first responders as well as veterans and active duty military members.
4. Tail-Hanging Scorpion
Staying with the Egyptian feel for a moment, our next pendant is a cleverly sculpted scorpion. The detailed carving of the scorpion measures a hefty 2.2 by 1.4 inches and has a good weight to it. Available in your choice of yellow or silver toned stainless steel, this pendant includes a twenty-two-inch chain in the corresponding color.
Oidea, the creator of this pendant, opted to skip the standard modes of hanging a pendant. Typically suspended by a bale or series of jump rings, this scorpion coils its deadly tail around the chain for a unique take on a pendant piece. We love the thought put behind this design. The detailed carving is brilliant and adds a very rich feel to an otherwise reasonably priced piece.
The scorpion pendant may not benefit from being hung with accompanying pendants. Because of the original method of hanging as well as the intricate carving, hanging out with other pendants would likely detract from the overall appeal. It will work wonderfully as the anchor on a layered look.
This pendant makes a fantastic gift for the harder-edged, adventurous men. The scorpion has always been associated with a quiet deadliness, stealthy and cunning. Anyone who loves that bad boy side of him or herself may likely associate strongly with the scorpion. These are the types of folks who would likely love to include this pendant in their look.
5. Hawaiian Style Fish Hook
Next up we present a beautifully detailed Hawaiian style fish hook pendant. Created in surgical grade stainless steel and plated in 14k yellow gold, this Hawaiian fish hook hangs from an eighteen-inch chain. It is adorned with flowing and detailed swirls of decor. It adds a flourish that remains handsomely masculine without being quite so straight-laced and monotone. The carvings catch the light and add a certain gleam that we adore.
You may recognize the shape from Disney’s Moana. The main male protagonist Maui garnered his power from a magical fish hook given to him by the gods. With this fish hook, he wrangled the sun, pulled islands from the sea and was able to give mankind countless gifts using its power.
Outside the world of Disney, the Hawaiian fish hook holds heavy meaning with the Hawaiian peoples as well as other Polynesian cultures. Often called Makau, the shape represents strength, prosperity, abundance, and good luck. Like many island peoples, much of their livelihood was closely tied with the sea and the bounty it can produce. Most specifically, the Hawaiian people thrived off of fishing. Long lines of these hooks, carved from bone, would be cast out to sea with the hopes of catching enough food to feed their families. When these hooks successfully hauled in a bountiful yield, the hooks were thanked for their work.
Worn now as an amulet of good luck and bountiful blessings, this pendant is perfect for men who work hard for the families and friends. Everyone could use a little more luck and prosperity. Plus, it is stylish and exotic. You really cannot go wrong with luck-bringing style.
6. Celtic Trinity Knot Medallion
Now we move from one island nation to another, halfway across the globe. The islands of Ireland and The United Kingdom were home to the Celtic peoples and their mythologies. This medallion styled pendant features the iconic trinity knot, otherwise known as the Triquetra. It is wonderfully carved into the surgical grade stainless steel and colored with a lovely yellow gold tone.
We love this treatment of the trinity knot. Rather than simply being carved in relief of the metal, the artisans at LineAve chose to fully carve the pendant, making terrific use of negative space. The color of the shirt it is worn over will peek out and give a wonderful contrast to the Celtic knotwork. Even the bale is detailed with a second trinity knot.
The medallion comes on a twenty-three-inch rolo wheat chain. The chain gives a heavier look that makes this piece ideal for either a solo piece or the anchor of a layered look. We do not recommend this particular piece for a multi-pendant effect. Hanging with other pieces would only detract from the excellent craftsmanship and detail of the pendant.
The Celtic trinity knot is a common element in jewelry. It represents the three-in-one aspects of life. Be it life, death, and rebirth, the Christian Father, Son, and Holy Ghost or the three segments of time, past, present and future, the symbol is rather open-ended. It can represent the three elements most important to you.
This is a perfect pendant for just about anyone. Gift it to the thoughtful man in your life or wear it yourself.
7. Gold Dipped Obsidian Arrowhead
This handcrafted arrowhead pendant is likely our favorite on this list. Constructed of stark black obsidian and dipped in a brilliant contrast of yellow gold tone metal, this is the perfect pairing of stone and gold.
The arrowhead is hand-knapped. Knapping is a form of carving that involves using a stone to strike away at another stone to create a shape. It is a time-consuming process and requires an exorbitant amount of patience and skill the shape and sharpen the hard stone into a worthy weapon.
Arrowheads are some of the most ancient items, and one of the oldest forms of weaponry we know of. Archaeologists have uncovered knapped arrowheads as a part of almost every ancient and prehistoric culture we know of. Even before the written record of mankind began, arrowheads were an ever-present item. Used in hunting, protection, and warfare, they represent strength, ferocity and cunning.
This obsidian arrowhead pendant includes a thirty-one and a half inch box chain that complements the charm perfectly. We love the pairing of the yellow and black. Each works in tandem to make the other more beautiful.
This piece is ideal for the multi-pendant assembly. Hang this piece with other yellow-gold toned pendants. The obsidian will provide a perfect contrast against both the wearer’s shirt and the other accompanying pendants.
8. Tibetan Mantra Pendant
This is the most unorthodox shape of all the pendants on our list. The bead-shaped pendant fully encapsulates the chain it hangs from. Carved in the beautiful Sanskrit language on the yellow-gold toned stainless steel surface is the Tibetan mantra Om Mani Padme Hum.
This is the “Great Six Syllable Mantra” used by the monks of Tibet. Om is the sacred syllable common to Indian and Tibetan Buddhism. Mani translates to jewel. Padme means lotus flower and Hum evokes the spirit of enlightenment. This powerful mantra uses each syllable to remind one of the important aspects of centering, peace, enlightenment, and focus.
Often carved into stones, beads, and prayer wheels, it is believed that spinning these is the same as saying the mantra several times over. Hence the bead-type design of this pendant.
Hung from a twenty-four-inch chain this pendant will work fantastically in a layered look. Leave the mantra bead on its own chain on the uppermost chain of the layer and combine several pendants on the lower chain for a star-worthy look.
Make use of the pendant by learning the deep, spiritual meaning of the mantra. Spin the bead as you say it to get the full effect of the meditation. Or simply enjoy the bead as a stylish addition to your jewelry collection.
9. Custom Engraved Dog Tag
Offered by engraving artists U7, this gold-toned, rubber-wrapped dog tag is a fantastic gift for veterans, active duty military, first responders or those particularly patriotic. This dog tag is completely customizable, offering four lines of twenty characters.
Dog tags are forever related to the armed forces. They came to use during World War II as a quick and easy way to identify critical information for soldiers. This could be used to communicate vital information for a wounded soldier who could not speak including name, age, and blood type. They were also used to identify fallen soldiers so that their families could be easily notified.
After the horrific death tolls of World War I, the US military, in particular, realized new methods were required to identify bodies and notify families of soldiers lost on the battlefields. New, more impressive and damaging weapons meant that old standards of identifying soldiers could not be relied upon as name patches and uniforms were sometimes too damaged during the battle. Thus as World War II began a mere two decades after the Great War ended, dog tags became standard issue.
Made of sturdy metal and hung as necklaces around the neck, these were less likely to be damaged in case of injury. This dog tag hopefully has a far less dire need. We love it nonetheless. Use it to commemorate the births or deaths of loved ones, special dates, or a saying of great significance. The simple and iconic shape of the dog tag means it can be worn solo or in conjunction with other pendants.
10. Lion Head
Our final selection is one of the most powerful symbols yet. A simple cast lion head measuring just under two inches roars fiercely hanging from its twenty-two-inch chain. Made of stainless steel and colored in a rich, wheat colored gold tone, this is a wonderful piece to wear with other pendants.
The lion traditionally represents the head of a family. It is also a symbol of strength, courage, pride, virility, and authority. Lions are often seen as an integral part of family crests across European nobility. Sometimes shown as a full-bodied lion rearing up to fight and defend, the lion head is a more straightforward representation. Surprisingly the lion head by itself is a far less common presentation.
We love this as a Father’s Day gift or a Grandparent’s Day gift. ven for those who do not regularly wear jewelry, the symbolism and meaning behind this piece is a beautiful gesture.
Caring for your Daily Wear Pendants
Daily wear pendants often get neglected in the cleaning and care realm. However, pieces meaningful enough (and handsome enough) to wear everyday deserve the same care as the finer pieces of special occasion jewelry. Be sure to take your necklace off nightly and wipe it down with a soft cloth. If you elect a metal chain, wipe the chain, the bale, the jump rings and the pendant well. Be sure to cover all surfaces. If you prefer a cloth, rope, or leather cord, remove the charm and wash the cord in warm water. Leave out overnight to dry.
At least once a month wash the entire piece in warm water with unscented soap with a soft bristled brush. Dry these completely. It is important for several metal varieties to thoroughly dry them immediately after the wash. Several metal types do not tolerate high humidity and moisture very well including sterling silver, surgical stainless steel, and lower karat weights of gold (10k).