Meet the Jeweler Who Made Drake’s 100-Carat OVO Owl Chain
For most jewelers, expensive and unique requests from clients usually come in the form of Bridezillas who are hell-bent on getting the perfect engagement ring from their would-be spouses. But for Jason Arasheben, CEO of Jason of Beverly Hills, that would hardly qualify as a tough day at the office.
As one of the most prominent celebrity jewelers in the business right now, Arasheben has built a diamond and gold crusted jewelry empire that spans locations in Southern California, Las Vegas, Miami, Charlotte, and Tokyo.
His foray into the industry first began on UCLA’s campus — flipping $50 trinkets to his fellow classmates — which over the course of 16 years has grown to include a roster of celebrity clients like Drake, A$AP Rocky, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Diddy, and Kim Kardashian West.
While the jewelry favored by the hip-hop elite has certainly evolved since the days of the rope chains worn by LL Cool J, Slick Rick, Big Daddy Kane, and Eric B & Rakim during the ’80s, there has been a contemporary period when innovation and creativity have both slowed. Both artists and jewelers learned that more gold and more diamonds didn’t necessarily mean more press.
Arasheben aims to tell a story with each piece that he creates. His latest and perhaps greatest — a bespoke OVO owl chain for Drake which boasts a kilo of gold and over 100 carats of Asscher cut diamonds — is a good representation of how it’s possible to marry extravagance with realism.
We recently caught up with Arasheben to discuss the aforementioned OVO owl chain, other prominent works, tips for those wanting to commission a bespoke piece, and trends he sees moving forward.
You famously crafted Lil Jon’s five-pound “Crunk Ain’t Dead” medallion, which earned a Guinness Book of World Records designation as the world’s largest non-religious diamond pendant. Was breaking a record your intended goal?
Absolutely. With everything we do we set our eyes on breaking records or establishing new jewelry standards. We accomplished that with the “Crunk Ain’t Dead” chain and later again with Nick Cannon’s diamond shoes.
You also did ASAP Rocky’s “ASAP” chain. Is there something that sticks out to you about that particular piece?
Yes. When we did that pendant, Rocky didn’t want to go the traditional route, so we did 4 pendants in one piece, which was a unique twist. It is a lot of fun to work with people who dare to be different and are creative. Rocky is one of the most creative. We always have a great time designing together.
Most people think of jewelry designers solely in a contemporary/rap context. There’s you, Johnny Dang, Ben Baller, etc. Who are some notable jewelers people should know more about, and what specifically
did they do to move the needle in the industry?
The general public mistakenly judges a jewelers success solely by their popularity in pop culture. Its not all about a strong social media following and TMZ cameos. There are a lot of jewelers who design important pieces that are well known throughout the luxury sector, but not so much in pop culture. Designers like Theo Fennell, David Morris, and Lev Leviev.
You’ve enjoyed a solid relationship with the Golden State Warriors – having designed several of their championship rings. What are the challenges of working on something smaller – like a ring – versus a
chain which is a much larger palette with which to work?
You are right, rings are a bit more difficult, because you have a smaller palette to work with. You also have to build more of the story line into a ring and it needs to encompass not only the identity of the organization, but also each individual player and the season as a whole. It needs to have multiple stories all built into the design.