Diamond hip hop jewelry also referred to as "iced out jewelry" or "bling jewelry" arose from the cultural phenomenon of "Hip Hop" or "Rap" music. For most of us except the purists these terms are quite interchangeable so I'll take them to mean the same thing. Hip hop or rap also refers to an attitude and part of this attitude is all about creating the impression of sheer extravagance and success. Out of this emerges the style of diamond hip hop jewelry which is meant to give a very clear, distinct, and unmistakable message to anyone who happens to see or glance at the person wearing the jewelry. Hip hop jewelry is over sized, lavish, and sparkly and incorporates the use of ornate crosses, gambling symbols, skulls, breeds of animals, and many other designs and symbols. Of course these are all encrusted with diamonds of various sizes and shapes. The three basic and most popular ways to get iced up are with hip hop pendants, rings, and diamond studs.
Hip hop pendants have long been the most visible expression of hip hop jewelry because they scale up in size real well and have a huge amount of human real estate to showcase against. They are often seen dangling from heavy white metal rope or link chains all the way down to the navel level. At that length they swish from left to right quite visibly and this never fails to attract attention. Such pendants whether religious symbols or dog tags are usually pave or prong set with diamonds from half pointers to half caraters and more. Often with dog tags of different styles there will be channel set square diamonds that form some of the outer framework of the piece, especially the geometric styles. Pave set round diamonds further flesh out the inner details of the piece and give the piece it's "flash" value. Hip hop diamond rings are smaller in scale than most pendants and dog tags but no less important as showpieces of hip hop style.
Diamond hip hop rings can feature geometric styles, skulls, religious symbols, crests and seals, and many other styles. Geometric styles are the most common with square, rectangular, and triangular shapes with channels of square princess diamonds, baguette diamonds, and round diamonds. This can be juxtaposed with geometric areas filled with small round diamonds that are pave set. Diamond rings allow for more important stones to be used because rings are symbolically more important. Center stones of assorted shapes, usually square or round with single stone weights upwards of two carats give the ring its geometric center and screams big bucks. Single high quality stones that are either square or round and upwards of two and a half carats in weight are all you really need in your ring. It looks just as manly if not more so than the scintillating pave look. It is self evident as an important piece of jewelry without all the glitz showmanship of the iced out look.
The only piece of diamond hip hop jewelry that might be more visible than any other is the tried and true mens' diamond stud either singly or as a pair. Dare I say that two and a half carats per side of princess cut diamonds in the E to F color range can be more of a knockout than a huge iced out foot long cross pendant. Remember, stud earrings are at eye level and are therefore in the most eye catching spot on the human body. They are simple and masculine and can speak loudly of the owner's success. It is true that one can get away with cubic zirconia at ten dollars to give the same look but to be quite honest most men who know their bling (and women too) can spot a cubic zirconia from a couple yards away.
Diamond hip hop jewelry has come a long way as has hip hop culture and music in general. What was once a very small niche in diamond jewelry is now a mainstream force and drives some of the styling direction behind such major mainstream designers of mens' jewelry like David Yurman, John hardy, and Konstantino. The popularity of the large scale iced out diamond look has filtered over to more traditional jewelry designers like the ones just mentioned as well as large scale mounting makers like Stuller and Overnight Mountings. Hip hop diamond jewelry is here to stay as long as hip hop music and culture continues to inspire us.