An AI rendition of Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg with a beard and chains
An AI rendition of Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg with a beard and chains
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Just when it appeared as though social media had reached the apex of its time- wasting potential, up popped the video produced by the United States’ National Public Radio (NPR). In it, a legitimate jewellery expert weighed in on whether wearing a neck chain might make some fictitious male characters more attractive. Did I watch said clip in its entirety? Affirmative. Did I find myself agreeing that Godzilla would not seem more hunky or cuddly with a bit of bling? You betcha.

This example of top-drawer journalism was prompted by some recent images of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg sporting a silver chain. The accessory is part of a bigger story that has decidedly discerning pockets of the internet in thrall. After years of presenting as a wan, uptight, fashion-averse tech billionaire, images of the 39-year-old Zuckerberg suddenly surfaced that had him looking cool, casual and, dare I say it, handsome.

In these snaps, he looked tanned, with a dishevelled beard and moustache, navy T-shirt, and said silver chain. There were no two ways about it, the man had, as the youth put it, “glowed up”. It soon emerged, however, that the fetching facial hair was, in fact, the crafty work of AI. It is perplexing that someone might spend a few minutes adding beard fuzz to a picture of Zuck, but hey, I watched a video about the possibility of a cinematic reptilian monster accessorising, so who am I to judge?

Anyhow, the good news — if you’re the Meta Daddy — is that the rest of the image was authentic. The longer curly hair, the healthy sheen, the kit, and the necklace were all real. Zuckerberg seems to be aging like a mid-price red blend. He certainly looks to be spending less time in front of a screen and more in the sun. Alternatively, of course, he’s enlisted the help of a stylist and aesthetician.

Wouldn’t you do the latter if you were the fourth-richest person in the world and worth roughly US$177 billion? As for the jewellery, Zuckerberg said, “I’m in the process of designing a long-term chain.” The test version (as per the picture) was merely the trial run for one he’s having made that will be engraved with a prayer he reads to his daughters. Long term, or short term, I’ve never been one for a man necklace — but if it’s your bag then, once again, as the kids put it, “You do you, boo.”

That said, 2024 does seem to be the year of stellar red-carpet jewellery where the menfolk are concerned, and this I am on board with. Never mind the starlets and songstresses dripping in delicious diamonds and precious metals — at the Academy Awards, the mighty fine fingers of actor and playwright Colman Domingo were blinged out in sparkling David Yurman pieces and rapper Bad Bunny rocked both Cartier rings and a chain.

The undeniable essential in the gentlemen’s jewellery arsenal is the brooch. Or “brooche”, as it’s been termed, bro. At the Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmys, and Met Gala, the lapels of the trendiest lads glistened with cool pinned pieces.

Local contemporary jeweller Eric Loubser has always had a penchant for a bold man brooch, and he happily confirmed the comeback, saying, “Last year pearls had a moment, thanks, in part, to Harry Styles, but the brooch is definitely back.” So, this winter, whether it’s a low-key version or something totally OTT, why not spruce up your blazer or coat with a little natty bling? Perhaps Godzilla should investigate doing the same.

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