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Fine jewelry becoming a man's best friend

Men, nay, manly men don't know beans about fine jewelry. With the exception that buying it for a woman can get you out of most jams. Ask Kobe Bryant.

But that is changing, thanks in part to the bling-bling that rappers and athletes bring to the game.

"You can't underestimate all of these athletes and entertainers and the influence they have," says Tom Andruskevich, chairman and CEO of Mayors Jewelers. "Look at P. Diddy. There's a whole new generation of men out there who are dressing up with great luxury and having a great watch goes with it. Today's watches have more gemstones on them. That is the rapper influence. What a statement a great watch like that makes."

South Florida jewelry designer Luis Morais says you have to achieve a balance between modern masculinity and jiggy jewelry.

"Most men are not comfortable with delicate jewelry, although they may be secretly attracted to it," says Morais. "So I use a mixture of silver and leather (because) it balances the need of jewelry that is both masculine with a feminine touch."

Well, if you want to go all girly on us, you should know that there is a must-have this season. Robert Moorman of Miami's Carroll's Jewelers says titanium is the new hot haute look in men's jewelry.

"You see it in bracelets and cuff links. Everything is black or dark gray. It's very high-tech designs," Moorman says.

Spectore Corp., the largest maker of titanium accessories, not only makes bracelets and cuff links but also business card holders, money clips, key chains, solitaire stone rings and rope necklaces.

"More and more young men are emulating sports and film stars, who all seem to wear neck chains and pendants," says Tim Lawrence, president of Hot Diamonds USA. "Cuff links are a favorite men's gift, and the golf bracelet has been a hit for the last three years when it began to be featured on the wrists of pro golfers on the PGA Tour."

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