Franklin and Williamson County are known for so many things. Topping the long and lengthy list is our history, our culture and the simple fact that seemingly everyone wants to move here. Anyone who has spent any time in Franklin and driven down our busy Main Street has seen Walton’s Antique and Estate Jewelry Store. You may not know how extraordinarily special Walton’s and the people that work there are. Walk in, take a breath and quite literally you will find yourself in another world. The antique sterling silver platters, flatware and my favorite “julep cups” are shiny and bright and abundant. Then your eyes turn to the cases of jewels! Oh my! Anything and everything you could ever hope to see when it comes to extraordinary antique jewelry is right there for you to have and hold!

I remember walking into Walton’s almost 30 years ago and seeing a Tiffany Art Nouveau, Sapphire and Diamond Enamel Dragonfly Brooch. I will never forget it! Thinking of that incredible piece of jewelry still makes me smile. That was then, and now all these years later Walton’s continues to shine like none other. They are nationally and internationally renowned, featured in Forbes, People and of course Southern Living! This family owned three generation business has been and continues to be an industry leader on how to do business the right way. Case in point, just three years ago Julie Walton Garland was selected as one of eleven business owners from across the country to become a member of Facebook’s Small Business Council. Julie is Walton’s manager and is a GIA Graduate Gemologist. I was thrilled when she kindly agreed to sit down and answer some of my questions about Men’s Jewelry.

JTT: For a very long time, it seems like the only jewelry a man could “tastefully” wear was a class ring, a wedding ring, a watch and maybe carry a money clip. As a jewelry industry leader what trends are you seeing when it comes to men and the jewelry they are wearing or NOT wearing?

JWG: Lately, we have seen an insurgence in men seeking antique wedding bands. We love this trend, although it can sometimes be a challenge to fulfil, as antique bands are difficult to come by. Many men are wanting to purchase jewelry with a story and history to it, which is exciting for us! Antique cuff links have also been a popular purchase as of late. It gives a personal, unique detail to their everyday style.

JTT: Precious metal, silver, gold, rose gold platinum does it really matter or is it simply a matter of choice?

JWG: When choosing types of precious metals for your jewelry, there are more factors to take into account than just the color of the metal. For example, platinum is a hypoallergenic metal, which makes it a great choice for those that have a gold allergy. Platinum is also more malleable, it will bend before it breaks, whereas gold is more brittle, it will break before it bends. Ultimately, the look of the piece (the color of the metal) is going to be the most important to ensure you love the look and it matches your style.

JTT: Is it ok to mix metals?

JWG: Absolutely! Different metals do tend to wear differently over time, but mixing different colors of gold (rose gold, yellow gold, white gold) creates a really beautiful look!

JTT: What is the one piece of jewelry every man needs to wear? Is there something that a man should never wear?

JWG: When it comes to men’s jewelry, everything is fair game! Whatever matches your personal style and lifestyle is always best. Men that tend to dress in a suit for work or have a busy social calendar can always rock a great pair of cuff links or even a pin/brooch on their lapel. Men that have a very active lifestyle (outdoor enthusiasts, hands on job, etc.) may be less inclined to wear much jewelry in their everyday life. A trendy silicone band and more durable watch may be the perfect pieces for them!

JTT: Are there any guidelines for how to wear a bracelet or bracelets? Is there a preferred kind of bracelet for a man to wear meaning precious metals, leather, rope or cord?

JWG: Bracelets are not often thought of as men’s jewelry, but are such a great look! Stacked together or paired with a watch, they can be tailored to your individual style. In terms of the type of bracelet, think about your personal style and lifestyle – if you’re more casual, leather, stainless, cord/rope may be the best fit for you. If you tend to dress up often, try a white gold, yellow gold or platinum bracelet and even throw in bracelets with diamonds and gemstones into the mix!

JTT: Walton’s is world renowned for selling fine estate and antique jewelry, often referred to as “heirloom” pieces. Is the story behind the piece of jewelry as important as the piece itself?

JWG: We love when we have a piece that has an actual documented history to it! Although, it is not as common as you would think. We can often pinpoint the date of a piece if it has hallmarks that indicate its origin. Most of the time, we are able to date a piece based on the style, cut of the stones, and the craftmanship used to create it. But it is rare that a piece has a documented history of who previously owned it. These can all add to a piece’s value, given the rarity of these details.

JTT: Obviously precious metals have escalated price in the last year. Should jewelry be considered as part of an investment portfolio; literally assets that you wear?

JWG: Buying jewelry as part of an “investment portfolio” is very tricky and not something we advise. Jewelry is a luxury item, much like a fine car or expensive handbag. Very few pieces of jewelry appreciate in value. There are a few exceptions; if the piece is made by a famous designer, previously owned by someone famous, has impeccable provenance (documented history) or is extremely rare (antique pieces or certain types and qualities of gemstones and diamonds), it may increase in value accordingly over time.

JTT: What is the best advice you can give to man or a woman about buying jewelry?

JWG: Purchase jewelry that speaks to you and your style, something that will bring you joy and that you will love to wear.

Be sure to care for your jewelry. Our goal is to assist you in finding your dream piece and ensuring that it will last for generations to come. That’s the beauty of jewelry – your loved ones will remember you wearing and loving your jewelry, which will give it more sentiment and value to them when it becomes theirs one day.

As 2020 comes to close, I wish nothing for each of you but the very best in every way. Take care, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Keep Smiling and I will see you in 2021.

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