by John Brana October 04, 2023
Brass jewelry seems to be popping up everywhere lately. Walk down any busy city street and you’re bound to see women rocking big, bold brass cuffs or dainty brass earrings. The fashion world is abuzz - is brass really the new gold? This hot metal is clearly having a moment, but does it have staying power? Let’s investigate the rising popularity of brass jewelry and see if the hype is justified.
Not long ago, brass was mostly known as the metal of choice for mundane objects like doorknobs and tubing. How did such a utilitarian material make it onto the hottest runway shows and into the pages of Vogue? The story begins with the changing tastes of fashionistas who are always seeking fresh inspiration.
In the 2010s, many designers became enamored with the vintage look and feel of brass. Drawn to its warm, golden-orange sheen and intriguing patina, they incorporated brass accents into jewelry, handbags, shoes and more. Brands like Chloé and Gucci lead the charge, proving that brass could look chic, not cheap. Fast-forward to today and brass jewelry has officially gone mainstream. Even Target sells brass hoops and bangles now - that’s how you know a trend has arrived!
So what exactly is fueling the popularity of this unexpected metal? Let's count the ways:
In a world of thousand-dollar purses and hundred-dollar leggings, brass stands out for its accessibility and affordable price point. Making jewelry from brass costs a fraction of using precious metals like gold or platinum. Brands can produce more brass pieces, consumers can buy more of them, and the trend spreads. In financially uncertain times, shoppers welcome the chance to buy into fashion trends without blowing their budget.
Thanks to its warm, golden undertones, brass complements a wide range of skin tones and pairs easily with other metals. Brass adds a little shine and flair to any outfit - it's an effortless neutral that works for many styles. Whether dressed up or down, brass rarely clashes or overpowers. Its versatility makes it easy for people to incorporate brass jewelry into their existing wardrobe.
While versatility matters, brass also attracts fans looking to stand out from the crowd. Its distinctive sheen commands attention. Wearing attention-grabbing statement brass pieces allows people to express their bold, artsy side. When every other woman wears delicate gold jewelry, oversized brass cuffs and architectural hoops signal a free spirit. For nonconformists, brass makes the perfect anti-precious metal statement.
Everything old becomes new again, and the vintage appeal of aged brass strikes a chord for Gen Z and Millennials. Brass harkens back to the 70s hippie era, 90s punk scene and other youth-driven movements. At the same time, brass conveys a gritty, industrial edge thanks to its factory and machinery associations. Whether they are going for a bohemian or steampunk look, young fashionistas dig the offbeat retro mood of brass.
Despite being its own distinctive metal, brass still basks in some reflected glow from gold. Its burnished luminosity evokes a sense of luxury and heirloom quality, just like gold jewelry. Yet it also represents a new take - "gold with an edge." For fashion-forward consumers seeking the next big thing, brass has an allure as the evolution of gold, a sleeker "Gold 2.0."
Clearly this metal has benefited from perfectly-timed circumstances. With the stars aligned in its favor, brass seized its fashion moment. But does it have staying power? All signs point to yes. Major brands have invested heavily in brass designs, consumers have snapped them up, and the metal is now firmly embedded in the fashion lexicon.
Brass appears poised for a long runway, though of course trends always evolve. Regardless of future turns in the fashion cycle, brass seems secure in its new status as a viable player among jewelry metals. For now it is still riding high, as the influx of brass spots and hoops on city sidewalks attests.
With brass in high demand, more jewelers have incorporated it into their collections. But no brand has defined today's brass jewelry aesthetic quite like John S. Brana. Rather than just jumping on the trend, John S. Brana pioneered the look that ignited the brass craze.
Over 20 years ago, John S. Brana started crafting brass cuffs and other bold yet minimalist designs. He focused on masculine-leaning silhouettes and tribal motifs inspired by global travels. John S. Brana gleaned metalsmithing techniques to create signature hammered textures and finishes. At a time when dainty gold ruled, the edgy, assertive aesthetic of John S. Brana brass jewelry felt groundbreaking.
His early adoption of brass and knack for capturing the cultural moment put John S. Brana at the forefront of the fresh, modern brass movement. Today the brand offers an extensive selection of on-trend brass bangles, rings, earrings and necklaces. Commitment to quality has ensured that John S. Brana's distinctive brass designs maintain their luster year after year.
Let's explore some of the John S. Brana selections that demonstrate why this brand remains the leader in artisanal brass jewelry.
No piece encapsulates the John S. Brana look better than the oversized brass cuff. Substantial and sculptural, these cuffs make the ultimate fashion statement. They perfectly balance visual weight with a clean, architectural outline. John S. Brana's signature hammered and chased textures add tactile interest and catch the light beautifully.
Made for stacking, the cuffs create a strong brass moment when worn together. Whether worn solo or mixed and matched in complementary finishes, John S. Brana cuffs project strength and confidence. For women seeking jewelry with gravitas and edge, these substantial cuffs fit the bill. They elevate looks from basic to brazenly bold.
John S. Brana also creates standout brass earrings for trailblazing dressers. Many feature cascading teardrop shapes that reference natural motifs and exotic intricately patterned arabesque designs. The movement and flow of these fluid, dangling earrings make them true art pieces.
While definitely eye-catching, John S. Brana’s dramatic earrings remain surprisingly lightweight thanks to thoughtful balancing and shapes. They sit comfortably on the ear despite their visual presence. Every texture and detail gets considered to create earrings that feel sensational to wear as well as view. For women who want showstopping earrings that also feel luxurious, John S. Brana’s brass designs deliver.
Thanks to its versatility, brass jewelry suits a wide range of personalities and styles. Here are some of the trendsetters stepping out in brass this season:
For those obsessed with what's new and now, brass holds immediate appeal. Early adopters who crave fresh inspiration constantly look for the next big thing in fashion. Right now, that thing is brass. Spotting it on the hottest influencers, in-the-know fashionistas quickly add brass to stay ahead of the curve.
Free spirits who curate unique looks are drawn to brass jewelry's quirky retro vibe. Artists, musicians and creative types appreciate how brass conveys self-expression and edge. With inspiration spanning steampunk, tribal, punk and boho chic styles, brass offers these nonconformists ample room for imagination. They incorporate brass to communicate their bold personalities.
Followers of minimalism or capsule wardrobes choose versatile staple pieces in neutral hues. For them, brass jewelry provides perfectly understated shine to elevate basics. A simple brass cuff or earrings effortlessly pulls together their pared-down, monochromatic look. Brass offers luxe punctuation without overwhelming their aesthetic.
Those captivated by faraway lands and cultures often evoke their wanderlust through fashion. Brass's handcrafted exoticism recalls market bazaars and rich cultural traditions. Layering hammered brass cuffs and tribal motifs brings a bohemian spirit to everyday looks. Brass allows the travel obsessed to showcase global influences.
Clearly brass appeals to those seeking jewelry that perfectly complements their lifestyle and interests. Next let's explore optimal ways to incorporate brass into your wardrobe.
From bold statements to delicate accents, brass offers countless styling possibilities. Here are a few tips for highlighting your brass pieces:
With a few styling tips in mind, you can easily incorporate brass jewelry into everyday outfits or special occasion looks.
Beyond updating your everyday style, brass adds striking embellishment perfect for important events. Here are some occasions where brass dazzles:
For an evening out, bold brass hoops or a cuff add flair to little black dresses. Brass excels at providing eye-catching but tasteful sizzle. Give date looks extra panache by mixing metals like brass and silver.
Cocktail parties call for uplifted accessorizing. Layered brass necklaces and a chunky brass ring dress upfestive dresses or dressy separates without overwhelming the look.
For cultural events, art lovers can express their creative side through brass jewelry with handcrafted appeal. Organic shapes and patinas align beautifully with artistic settings.
Live music deserves showstopping style. The rock and roll edge of brass pairs perfectly with your favorite band tees and leather jackets. Or go glam with bold hoops and architectural bangles.
For weddings and social soirees, brass offers a chic twist on formal accessorizing. Mix shiny statement brass jewelry with your gems and precious metals for a modern, mismatched effect.
Brass gives any important ensemble that crucial finishing touch to make it feel complete. And it transitions seamlessly from day to night.
Now that you know how to integrate it into your wardrobe, it's time to start amassing your own curated brass collection! John S. Brana's artisanal designs make perfect building blocks for layering and experimenting as you explore brass further.
Clearly brass is no mere fleeting trend - it's a full-fledged fashion revolution! This “new” metal promises to stick around and continue making its mark thanks to its beauty, versatility and sense of discovery. With such sensational and affordable jewelry within reach, why not jump on the brass wagon? Arm yourself with multiple brass bangles, a pendant or two, and playful hoops to mix and match.
Once you adorn yourself in John S. Brana's iconic brass designs, you'll never look at brass the same way again. So liberate yourself from the tyranny of precious metals - be bold, go brass! Whether you're an artist, a globetrotter or a minimalist, brass jewelry offers endless possibilities for creative self-expression. It's time to embrace this exciting material and see where it can take your style next. Let your inner brass baron shine!
John S Brana, based in San Francisco, is the founder of John S Brana Handmade Jewelry with over two decades of expertise in crafting distinctive handcrafted pieces. Transitioning from a finance and banking career in 2004, John manages everything from design to marketing. His modern, urban-inspired creations have graced fashion editorials, resonating with stylish, adventurous enthusiasts who value exquisite craftsmanship and luxury. Every piece narrates a distinct tale, mirroring the wearer's individuality.
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