(NYTIMES) - In the August issue of Vogue, Zayn Malik embraces Gigi Hadid, with a turquoise-and-silver ring on his right index finger.
In an ad for Dior's fragrance Sauvage, Johnny Depp rolls up his sleeve to reveal an armful of jewelry, including a turquoise-and-silver bracelet. And in a recent spread in GQ, Tom Ford wears a large turquoise belt buckle and cuff.
When it comes to jewellery, fashion-conscious men can't seem to get enough of this blue-green stone. "For me, it's like a talisman," said designer Phillip Lim, who has collected turquoise jewellery since he was a teenager. "Turquoise is like a stone of protection," he added, referring to the stone's reputed spiritual and metaphysical properties. "The patina of silver balances the turquoise very well. It's very natural and masculine."
The combination of turquoise and silver has a long history, and is often associated with Native American cultures and the hardscrabble myth of the Western frontier. But lately, it has found its way from desert cities like Santa Fe, New Mexico, to trendy urban enclaves like Bushwick, in Brooklyn, and Silver Lake, in Los Angeles.
Take Gabe Tesoriero, 46, who travelled to Marfa, Texas, about five years ago and returned home to New York with a silver and turquoise ring in tow. Since then, Tesoriero, the executive vice president for media and publicity at the record label Def Jam, has collected quite a few silver and turquoise rings, giving some away to friends, and keeping some for himself. "I've always had this fascination with the American West - it's very sexy, there's something that's masculine and heroic about it," he said. "And, for me, turquoise can be both masculine and sort of mystical at the same time."
During a trip to Santa Fe this year, Brian Phillips, the founder of the public relations firm Black Frame, bought four turquoise and silver rings at the Rainbow Man, a store that specialises in Native American and Hispanic arts and crafts. "I like things that look like they were excavated from the earth or were buried at the bottom of the ocean, things that have marks of age and heritage," he said.
The trinkets also align with macro trends in the menswear market, said Brian Trunzo, senior menswear editor at trend-forecasting firm WGSN. He sees this as the manifestation of two things. "It's sort of the modernisation of Americana, a lot of which is rooted in the appreciation of the great outdoors," he said. "And this vintage revival, which has turned Santa Fe into the Mecca of the vintage world."
According to Dayna Isom Johnson, a trend expert at Etsy, turquoise is on the rise. There has been an increase in searches for turquoise on the site, and in terms of gems and stones, it has been among the three most searched terms for over a year. Best of all, turquoise and silver, with all its associations, can convey that you're in the know but also a little left of centre. It's sophisticated but a little kooky.
"It's a great way for me to let my freak flag fly in a cool way that's not over the top," Tesoriero said. "It's like a wink to people to let them know that you're a weirdo."