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Article: American Museum of Natural History hosts a special “Hip-Hop Jewelry” Exhibition

American Museum of Natural History hosts a special “Hip-Hop Jewelry barbie
Jewelry

American Museum of Natural History hosts a special “Hip-Hop Jewelry” Exhibition

 

Hitmakers like Drake, Slick Rick, Nicki Minaj, Bad Bunny, and the Notorious BIG are on display in a new exhibit called "Ice Cold: An Exhibition of Hip-Hop Jewelry" at the American Museum of Natural History.

It features bespoke jewelry designed by renowned New York City jewelers, such as Tito Caicedo of Manny's New York, who produced Biggie's famous diamond-studded Jesus piece and worn by some of the biggest names in music.

American Museum of Natural History hosts a special “Hip-Hop Jewelry” Exhibition
14k gold sneaker-shaped pendant made for hip hop group Run DMC (Source: YouTube Screenshot)
Ice Cold

"Ice Cold" features custom-made jewelry by renowned jewelers in New York City, which is worn by some of the biggest names in music.

Vikki Tobak, guest curator for "Ice Cold," stated in a statement, "It's time to celebrate the artists, jewelers, craftsmen, and everyday people who contributed to the storied history of hip-hop jewelry."

The exhibition, which covers five decades, is on display at the Museum's Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals in the Melissa and Keith Meister Gallery through January 5, 2025.

The first piece is an enormous gold chain from the 1970s and 1980s, which includes an Adidas necklace produced in tribute to the 1986 hit song "My Adidas" by Run D.M.C.'s Jam Master Jay.

Among the notable pieces from the 1990s are a diamond-studded Roc-A-Fella medallion honoring Jay-Z's record label and a diamond-encrusted "QB" pendant created by Caicedo for the musician Nas.

Important pieces from this century have been worn by Drake, Nicki Minaj, and other celebrities.

Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj, a self-described Barbie girl who grew up in Queens, has been referred to by her fans as "Barbz" for years, even before she collaborated with Ice Spice on the hit song "Barbie World" for the soundtrack of the highly anticipated "Barbie" film released last summer, according to The New York Post.

The rapper's stylist hired 27-year-old jeweler Ashna Mehta a couple of years ago for some extreme Barbie jewelry.

Mehta, whose family owns a wholesale diamond company, spent "hundreds of thousands" on an 18k-karat-gold Barbie pendant encrusted with 54.47 carats of diamonds and surrounded by pink enamel.

American Museum of Natural History Barbie Hip-Hop Jewelry” Exhibition
Nicki Minaj’s iconic “Barbie” pendant (Source: YouTube Screenshot)
Rappers go to Alex Moss, a jeweler based in New York City when they want a statement necklace. He's known for delivering the drama with his 3D diamond pendants, bubble-lettered diamond necklaces, and rings that resemble little sculptures..

Drake imagined "The Crown Jewel of Toronto," in which the mascots of the Toronto Raptors and Blue Jays scale the CN Tower in the Canadian metropolis.

In the music video for "8 AM in Charlotte," taken from his 2023 album "For All the Dogs," Drake dons a 3D, 18-carat white gold jewelry set with Burmese red rubies and extraordinarily clear white, blue, and yellow diamonds.

Tyler, The Creator
In the exhibition are additional pieces that Moss completed for Tyler, the Creator, and A$AP Rock.

Tyler placed an order for a tall necklace, which was made for his album "Call Me If You Get Lost" in 2021.

With a dangling pendant that depicts a 3D bellhop in gold clutching a briefcase in each hand, the piece has 23,000 handset stones totaling 186 carats of diamonds and 60 carats of sapphire.

The project cost half a million dollars. It took ten months to locate the stones in this case, according to Moss.

Tyler, The Creator's 2020 Grammys bellhop outfit, which drew inspiration from Wes Anderson, served as Moss's visual cue as he ruled the red carpet in a baby pink uniform. He took home the "Best Rap Album" award that evening for "Igor."

After Moss personally flew Tyler the half-million dollar bellhop necklace, Tyler made an appearance at the 2021 BET Awards wearing it.

In order to produce a 14-carat gold and diamond wearable grenade clock for the rapper's "RIOT (Rowdy Pipe'n)" 2023 music video, Moss collaborated with Swiss watchmaker L'epee 1839. The grenade's pin can be used as a key to wind the clock's time.
 
Bad Bunny
David Tamrgo is the go-to grill expert in Hollywood. He has adorned mugs for Beyoncé, Madonna, and numerous other celebrities.

This piece, completed for Bad Bunny and currently on exhibit at the museum, is among his fastest turnarounds.

He created the musician a last-minute grill for a 2023 Rolling Stone photo shoot out of 14-carat white gold, diamonds, and rhodium plating.

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