In the late '90s, Bling jewelry made its stake as the most widely recognized accessory, and everyone from popular recording artists to reality television stars wanted to showcase their “bling.” And as affluent jewelry producers started to craft diamonds, bracelets, chains and even teeth grills, the jewelry lost its appeal. According to New York Times writer William Safire, “Bling-bling is dead.” While it may not not be dead, bling remains on life support as more consumers and artists favor gold and throw-back chains to iced out pieces.
How It Started
During the late ‘90s, “B.G.,” from the now defunct super group Cash Money Millionaires, released his music video titled “Bling Bling” that gave birth to the term and idea of rocking everything from iced-out necklaces to watches. After its release, the song shot up the Billboard Hot 100 charts before peaking at no.36. Soon after the song's release, “bling bling” became part of the mainstream lexicon, and everyone from rappers to the Oxford English Dictionary recognized and accepted the term.
After B.G.’s video, rappers and hip hop artists were looking to wear the flashiest jewelry on the market. Waka Flocka dropped 120k on his "Fozzie Bear" chain. Kanye upped the stakes with his 300K horus chain. Mike Jones, meanwhile, dropped an easy 1 million on his 'Big Ice" chain, but the biggest spender was Rick Ross, spending a reported 1.5 million on his piece.
How Bling Declined
In the late 2000s, The Recession started to affect rappers as well. Most started to move away from iced-out chains and pendants, and many explored cheaper, but still stylish options, with gold serving as the new staple. From throwback herringbone chains to traditional Franco necklaces, rappers opted to wear everything from gold-colored chains to even blackout jewelry. Take 2 Chainz, for example, and his gold Medusa Rings, and while The Recession shifted trends, more and more artists sought to find new options to distinguish their style from their peers.
Where Is Bling Now?
While it may have receded its popularity, bling remains worn by some recording artist. Still, more and more recording artists seem to favor gold, and as of late, rose-gold pieces rather than traditional diamonds. Gold may not have replaced bling, but it has caused one of the many shifts in an industry that was once flourishing with jewelry that sparkled in any light.