Hip-hop bling is the thing at a luminous new jewelry exhibit

Hip-hop jewelry has gone by many names over the past 50 years. “Bling-bling” crystallized into “ice,” which melted into “drip” as rappers went from adorning their necks with gold chains and knuckles with four-finger rings to decking out their teeth and wrists in diamonds. One-upping your opponent in a rap battle couldn’t be done with lyrical prowess alone. You also had to look fly. As inner-city rappers sought global respect for their street poetry as a reputable art form throughout the ’80s and ’90s, so too did up-and-coming immigrant jewelers who found a commonality in their hustle to attain the American Dream.

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