Top 8 Hip-Hop's Most In-Demand Jewelers
"Canary yellow diamonds like the wrapper of a Butterfinger" - Lil Yachty, Oops.
From million-dollar chains, 100 band gold teeth, and even a life-sized ice-cream-shaped pendant, jewelry in hip-hop have always been a mainstay for many decades.
From the narrow threads of the Kool Herc era (remember that?) to Run D.M.C. 's stylish dookie chains to Cuban links - the bling is forever in rap music. With that being said, it's always fun to look at what your latest favorite rappers are wearing.
A select group of well-known jewelers now collaborate with hip-hop musicians to produce unique, blinged-out creations; these designers have found widespread online success. There seems to be an insatiable want for extravagant jewelry.
A Houston jewelry shop, Johnny Dang & Co., is famous for its custom-made Grillz (teeth encrusted in diamonds and gemstones) and massive diamond Cuban link chains.
Ben Baller of Los Angeles works with renowned artists to create one-of-a-kind, extravagant creations using precious metals, stones, and other gems.
You may find large diamond rocks, luxury jewelry at Jason of Beverly Hills, and so on!
8 Well-Kown Famous Jewelers for Rappers
Here's a look at some of hip-hop's most in-demand jewelers and their million-dollar clients:
1. Jacob Arabo - Jacob & Co
Image Source: Hautetime
Only one jewelry store owner, Jacob "Jacob The Jeweler" Arabo, has been mentioned in as many rap songs as designer swag. The esteemed jewelry designer is now 55 years old, but he has been working in the industry since he was 16 and lied about his age to gain his first job
A year later, with the help of $8,000 from his mom, he purchased a factory and launched his own company, which would one day be known as Jacob & Co.
In 1987, Arabo designed the massive diamond Biz ring that Biz Markie wore; in the 1990s, he created the Jesus pieces and Rolexes that The Notorious B.I.G. wore; and in 2000, he
began the Five Time Zone trademark watch that Jay-Z and others wore. The jeweler, who was raised in Queens and was born in Uzbekistan, now takes great delight in his clientele, which includes Drake and Pharrell.
In 2019, Drizzy dropped $620,000 on Arabo's Astronomia Casino watch, which is equipped with a fully functional tiny roulette wheel and was spotted on the rapper's wrist last year.
A longtime customer, Pharrell wore a multicolored gem necklace made by Arabo and adorned with gold, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and diamonds to the 2019 Academy Awards.
2. Gem Merchants - Avianne & Co
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Joe Avianne's family has been in the jewelry industry for two generations. Still, he, his brothers, and his cousins have added a new chapter to the family's legacy by collaborating with members of the hip-hop community.
Avianne & Co. was founded in 1999 by the two women in New York City, and since then, they've become known for their eccentric, intricate designs, such as the baby zombie headpiece they made for Lil Baby, the G Star pendant and chain they made for J.I. The Prince of N.Y., and Blueface's set-repping bandana collar.
Image Source: Scontent
Specifically, Avianne adored the watch he crafted for Coi Leray, which features a butterfly motif all over (even on the ring and around the dial), and is drenched in diamonds of VS clarity and colorful gemstones.
3. Ben Baller - IF & Co
Image Source: naturaldiamonds
Los Angeles is home to IF & Co., a jewelry business managed by a family business. In business since 1978, IF & Co. specializes in creating and selling one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry. To preserve the family name alive, they have never outsourced any of the production or retail operations. Additionally, they participate in the entire creative procedure.
Ben Baller, the "Jeweler to the Stars," has emerged as the industry's preeminent jeweler. Ben Baller, a former D.J. turned music executive who altered hip hop subculture with his high-quality jewelry, has worked with icons such as Prince and Michael Jackson.
He has worked with well-known companies, including Diamond Supply Co. and Neff.
Almost every mainstream rapper has at least one Ben Baller item, including the A$ A.P. mob, Nicki Minaj, Lil Baby, Drizzy, Lil Uzi Vert, Tyler, The Creator, and many more.
4. Avi and Ben - Sparkling Gems
After over twenty years working in their family jewelry businesses, Avi Davidov and Ofir Ben Shimon created Pristine Jewelers in New York City in 2014. They have since made the engagement ring that Cardi B. wore to propose, Travis Scott's watch for the now-infamous 2019 Super Bowl, and DJ Khaled's illustrious chandelier watch.
Gucci Mane's wife, Keyshia Ka'oir Davis, decided to go blown out for a Christmas present in 2020, so they had to haul out the big guns for him. Her goal was to create the world's longest "Ice Daddy" necklace, bracelet, or another accessory.
A month and a half later, when they showed the chain, Ka'oir demanded more. "Avi, make it bigger, please... it's Guwop (Gucci Mane's nickname). It's time to step it up a notch,'" she urged Davidov. He spent almost $150,000 on new equipment to produce what he believes to be the longest Cuban link necklace and bracelet ever made: more than three inches wide, eight kilograms of gold, and nearly seven figures' worth of emerald cut plus brilliant cut diamonds.
5. Kilani - Fine Jewelry
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Although Akram Kilani has worked alongside his father and siblings at Toronto's Kilani Jewellery for over 20 years, most of the business these days comes from A-list players like Stephen Curry and Anthony Joshua; he has also been making jewelry for Drake since the latter 2000s. Drake even credited Kilani in an interview with Nardwuar in 2016 for crafting the giant "O" thinking chain he wore while recording Views.
In addition, Drake presented DJ Khaled with a Kilani original as a token of appreciation for their regular working relationship. To represent the unbreakable relationship between Khaled and his newborn son Asahd, Kilani crafted a necklace that holds two interlocking keys 2016. In addition, Kilani employed his ToranoMax factory to produce his brother's intricate design for the two musicians in 2020. The design features the O.V.O. owl and the We The Best Music Group lion on opposite sides of a linking "Key of Life," encrusted with diamonds.
6. Johnny Dang and Associates
After moving to the United States in 1987 with his family after his father fled the Vietnam War, Johnny Dang began his career in the jewelry industry the following year. As Johnny's father, Dang, was a jeweler, he picked up the trade from him and went on to work at a Houston jewelry repair business.
After impressing Paul Wall with grills, Johnny finally started a business at a Houston flea market. Since the mid-2000s, the two now co-owned Johnny Dang & Co. Dang has become one of rap's most sought-after jewelers, having worked with artists such as Megan Thee Stallion, Post Malone, Travis Scott, and more.
Now that we're in the post-COVID-19 age, he plans to paint on far larger scales. A regular customer, Kodak Black, had him make a mask out of white gold and 30 carats of diamonds with the Sniper Gang emblem for $30,000.
Black also had a ruby-encrusted, one-of-a-kind Johnny Dang grill made for him following his release from jail this year. After making a diamond-studded case for his bottle of hand sanitizer, Dang went on to create $45,000 replicas of the case for Kodak and DaBaby using 57-carat VS diamonds.
7. Wafi - Unlimited Jewelry
Image Source: Stacksandkicks
Wafi, an Indian immigrant, entered the sector in 2000 by starting an online jewelry store offering affordable items. Wafi became one of the most sought-after jewelers at his Atlanta boutique, Jewelry Unlimited, after the creator of Quality Control Music, Pierre "P" Thomas, authorized him to manufacture jewelry for several of P's musicians. He also made a custom “1300” piece for Polo G.
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Lil Baby recently sent NBA MVP James Harden a flooded 4PF necklace before he had one made for himself, while Gunna recently gave Young Thug a gold, three-metal "Slatt" chain.
This year, Future and his girlfriend, Dess Dior, have been seen wearing a "his and hers" set of four necklaces and two champion rings designed by Wafi.
8. Arasheben, Jason - Jason of Beverly Hills
Jason Arasheben, a jewelry designer with 18 years of experience, has created diamond-accented cutlery for A$AP Rocky, an owl necklace for Drake, and a flooded highlighter to honor Nicki Minaj's Pink Friday album. In 2020, he even physically handed a portrait of late A$ A.P. Mob member A$ A.P. Yams to Flacko as a present from Drake. The result: a half-kilo of 18-karat gold studded with pale diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and hand-enameled paint, valued at more than $200,000.
Image Source: cloudfront
Jason also went above and beyond while creating a one-of-a-kind necklace of Chris Brown and Young Thug's faces in celebration of their collaborative 2020 mixtape, Slime & B. Each artist's overall cost is between $75,000 and $150,000 per work.
These fantastic pieces and jewelers have left their indelible gold and diamond-encrusted mark all over the rap culture and game. Working and referencing famous jewelers for rappers in hip-hop is a thing of pride that has continued over the decades. It remains to be seen what else the "ice" game has to showcase for us in 2023, and we are all in for it!
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