Praise be to Allah.
The sharee’ah of Allaah contains rulings that are in the best interests of people in this world and in the Hereafter, because it is a law that was revealed by the Creator of mankind, Who knows what is good for them and what is bad for them. But the reason behind the laws may or may not be apparent to everyone. The believer is enjoined to submit and accept the laws of Allaah because that is a requirement of his faith in Allaah as his Lord and God. So when discussing with a kaafir, the aim should first of all be to explain to him the meaning of this faith and the importance of submitting to the will of Allaah, then after that one may speak about the reasons behind the laws.
With regard to this particular question we say:
Allaah, may He be glorified, has created mankind and made them of two genders, male and female, and He has given each of them its own characteristics which are suited to the role that each of them has to play in this life. Men have roles and tasks that women cannot do, and women have roles and tasks that men cannot do.
If that is the case, then it is perfectly wise to prepare each gender in a way that helps them to play the role that is required of them.
It is well known that gold is something with which people adorn and beautify themselves, but a man is not meant to do this, i.e., he is not a person who may be perfected by means of adding something, rather a man is perfect in and of himself, because of his manhood, so he has no need to adorn himself for some one else that he may like, unlike women. A woman needs to adorn herself so as to make herself attractive to her husband, thus creating a bond between her and her husband. Hence it permissible for a woman to adorn herself with gold and other things, so that the man will be attracted to her and seek her, and the purpose of marriage will be achieved, which is the propagation of the human species. Being brought up with adornments and softness is only appropriate for women; as for men, it is something blameworthy in their case. Hence Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“(Like they then for Allaah) a creature who is brought up in adornments (wearing silk and gold ornaments, i.e. women), and who in dispute cannot make herself clear?”
This is summary of what the scholars have said in response to this question, as was mentioned by Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (11/60).
Because gold and adorning oneself with it are things that are suited to the nature of women and the role for which they have been created, it is obviously wise for it to be forbidden for men to imitate women in that. The great scholar Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in I’laam al-Muwaqqi’een (2/109):
Similarly the prohibition on gold and silk for men is decreed so as to block the means that may lead to men imitating women. End quote.
One of the strange things that we see nowadays is many young men adorning themselves by wearing gold chains and the like, and they even put makeup on their faces. This is contrary to the fitrah (sound human nature) and to the masculinity and resolve which should be the characteristics of men. Hence you will not find any wise and serious man doing that, rather they are either perverts or those who are lacking in character, time-wasters who are trying to fill the gaps in their character or fill their time by doing that.
And Allaah knows best.