Bling has long been a nouveau-riche term reserved for the necks, wrists, and pinky fingers of the elite American athlete or musician. However, with IG influence increasingly molding global taste, the style of the rich and famous around the world are beginning to blend.
Enter Jason of Beverly Hills, the LA-based jeweler known for his penchant for high-end clientele: namely the starlets of European football. His work and friendship with players such as Didier Drogba, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Antoine Griezmann have made him a known commodity in the beautiful game.
From the jump, it’s clear that Jason’s connection and comfort around American sports celebrities allowed the football stars of Europe the comfort to start a relationship.
“In the United States, we service over 300 professional athletes from American football, basketball, hockey, baseball…What happens is a lot of the guys, even 15 years ago when we started, would come here to either play friendlies or they would come to the United States to vacation in the offseason. A lot of guys would come out here just to party and have fun.”
2003 – His first client: Didier Drogba.
“He came to us then and he had purchased some items from us and was really excited and felt like, listen, ‘we don’t have a lot of jewelers that are back in the UK that sell the type of merchandise you do and the type of custom work that you do. It’s a little bit more of you pick out of a showcase and things like that.’”
From icing out one of the great strikers in modern Premier League history, Jason’s contact list would explode: Boateng brothers, Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezman. In the last 10 years the family tree of Jason of Beverly Hills would expand the entire European continent.
Jason talks with excitement as he recalls visiting the training grounds of AC Milan, Chelsea and Manchester City for a private session with players on the respective teams.
“We oftentimes know the captain of the team and they’ll set it up so we can meet some of the other players. It’s a small knit community just like it is with American sports, so that once you kind of get into the circle and earn their trust, they definitely refer you to friends.”
With social media growing in influence for both the average Joe as well as the €500,000/week athlete, Jason notes that the trends and style of Europe and America were becoming one and the same. He’s quick to point out that European players prior to social media picked up on American style cues from actually seeing the nightlife themselves.
“So guys in Europe, they get to know what’s hot here in the States a lot quicker in real-time, whereas before they would have to actually travel here. Get in the scene. Go out at night. See what people are wearing. Now it’s instantaneous.”
The jewelry game for those who can afford it changed beyond recognition.
“So they could be sitting at home between practice or before a game and they scroll through their Instagram and they’ll see what the newest, hottest fashion is here in the States….The information is transmitted in real time.”
Historical differences between the athletes of Europe and America were rooted in old-world definitions of luxury.
“Europeans were typically a lot more conservative, weren’t as flashy. Not only just the jewelry but their overall dress was so different than American athletes.”
Interestingly enough as the American celebrity began to adopt more European luxury into their wardrobe: Gucci, Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton, sartorial rules around jewelry shifted dramatically towards the style of the American athlete. The global culture was taking root in both brains.
Take French talisman, Antoine Griezmann. Even as one of the flashier icons in the game today, Griezmann’s custom “Fortnite” chain made waves. It’s a wave that Jason himself helped create.
“The most fun pieces are the ones that really capture someone’s identity, what they love. Antoine Griezmann came to me and he said ‘Listen, I want to do something different. I love Fortnite. I play it all the time. I want to do a Fortnite character.’ He fell in love with the character doing ‘the loser dance’ because he felt like, ‘That’s what I want to do every single time we win on the pitch.’ So we brought that to life and did a little black diamond and green emerald Fortnite pendant.”
Another American tradition readily adopted by the European players is the championship ring. Jason had created the championship rings for the Lakers which caught the interest of a certain Didier Drogba.
“When Chelsea won the Champions League Didier Drogba had called us up and said he was such a fan of the Laker rings that we did that he’s like, “I want to be able to do something special along with the team for all the players, the trainers, and the coaches.” So we designed a ring that he approved along with some of the other players, flew over to London and we did this big gala for all the players and the team officials to attend and each player and the coach and training staff was awarded a championship ring to celebrate their Champions League victory.”
The gesture would be repeated by Griezmann to celebrate Atletico Madrid’s La Liga victory. It made some of the old European guard squirm—the idea that high profile European footballers would practice such an American tradition. Jason’s proximity to the players gives him a different perspective.
“It’s the story behind the actual ring and what it signifies. It’s funny because I feel like the players appreciate it more than anyone and this has all been driven by the players…To see the look in their eyes when we’re presenting the rings, it means the world to them. Even if they’re not a flashy person, it’s more of a memento or trophy that they put in their house, that it kind of memorializes and pays tribute to the championship they won.”
Surprisingly enough all of Jason’s jewelry for footballers have been for the athletes abroad. With global style culture swaying back and forth between the Europe and US, he feels like he’s got a good shot of making some celebratory ice for an American team as obsessed with Americana as the stars of Europe.