Traditionally, jewelry for men was limited to a watch or perhaps a class ring. Although the guidelines for business attire are still fairly conservative, for social occasions, the etiquette concerning men's jewelry is much less strict. In the 21st century, such accessories as earrings, piercings, bracelets and neck chains are no longer limited to women. The key is to know the proper times and places for men to wear jewelry.
Traditional Business Settings
For traditional business settings, less is more when it comes to jewelry. A high quality wristwatch or pocket watch, plus a wedding band or perhaps a class ring are the limit for men in a traditional business setting. Some younger men in less senior positions may be able to get away with a stud earring in one ear, but multiple piercings are strictly taboo. Cuff links and tie clasps add an air of formality and authority to business attire.
Jewelry etiquette for business casual is less strict than for traditional business settings. Men in a business casual environment have a bit more latitude in jewelry than the traditional watch, wedding band and class ring. An earring is probably OK, as long as it's not overly flashy. A limited amount of additional jewelry, such as a bracelet or neck chain worn inside the shirt is also permissible, as long as the pieces are not overly showy.
For date nights, men have much more latitude. Depending on the setting for the date, neck chains are definitely permissible, along with decorative rings, stylish watches and bracelets. For more daring date settings, piercings are also permissible. However, multiple neck chains are out of place for anyone besides rock stars and professional athletes.
Formal Jewelry Etiquette
For weddings and other formal occasions, jewelry should match the level of formality of the clothing worn by the man. A wedding band or a class ring is always permissible, however, other rings should probably be omitted. Cuff links and tie clasps are an elegant touch, along with a high-quality pocket watch. However, men should not go overboard—such accessories as visible neck chains and piercings are out of place in all but the most avant-garde wedding settings.
Jewelry etiquette is more flexible for younger men in less formal situations than for older men or for more formal situations. However, this does not apply to interview settings, when nearly all men should limit jewelry to a watch and single ring. Men interviewing for positions in the creative arena may have more latitude with jewelry, but even in this instance, less jewelry is probably advisable until the job offer is in hand.