Get your fatigues on, all black everything,
Black cards, black cars, all black everything.
Jay-Z “Run This Town”, featuring Rihanna & Kanye West
A few simple lines from a verse is all it took for the menswear masses to follow Jay-Z’s example and go for the now infamously titled, all black everything look. “Murdered out”: black on top of black on top of MORE black is not a new concept, but since Hova went all monochrome it’s popular again. Not only are there black cards and cars, but all black accessories: hats, sunglasses, sneakers and of course, jewelry. A black matte ceramic watch is a statement piece but the one accessory that’s really taken off for men, and especially NBA athletes, is the black diamond beaded bracelet.
Sean Carter himself really brought the black diamond bead bracelet to the forefront right around the time his latest album, The Blueprint 3, dropped. He’s worn the bracelets in every editorial he’s appeared in and wears them in almost every paparazzi photo. His signature model is the Shamballa Jewels’ black diamond pavé bead bracelet. The company preaches that their pieces will “invite the possibility of connecting to the energy of creation”. Whether or not Mr. Carter wears it for spiritual or fashionable reasons or both; the bracelets make a style statement. The designs are simple but beautiful and luxe due to the materials being used. Shamballa took a basic idea, the spiritual bead bracelet, and made it special and marketable because a high-end crowd wants something high quality. While it’s hard to an exact price on the bracelets, similar models go from $4000 to upwards of $40,000 depending on the amount of black diamonds or onyx used in the design. I can only imagine what the cost is for a custom design item.
It’s not all that surprising that NBA players, who use stylists who also work with A-List actors and musicians, have caught on to the black diamond craze. LeBron is still friends with Jay-Z, despite eschewing both the Nets and Knicks as options for the upcoming season. The King has worn the bracelets since last season. Recently, he wore a black diamond necklace at the Cowboys at Redskins game in Washington D.C.. Apparently, LeBron really likes black diamond everything.
Chris Bosh, who we saw at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week this season, picked up on his teammate’s style and has begun wearing the black diamond bead bracelets. I can understand players using the same stylists or admiring a friend’s style, but isn’t that complete style biting? Perhaps a leather bracelet or a more interesting option, like this Martin Margiela (another Jay-Z favorite brand) ring could help show off more of Bosh’s personal style personality.
Brandon Jennings picked up a few bracelets for himself this summer as well. He’s not only tweeted his love affair for his accesories, but wore them to the Under Armour basketball brand unveiling in New York City. The black diamonds do match his new shoe, the Micro G Black Ice, quite well, along with his black Camaro. David West is another fan of black diamonds and has worn them for sometime. I’m not sure if he’s following someone else’s style tips or found them on his own. There are more athletes, stars and stylists who wear the brand, but it’s curious how so many of the most well-known NBA athletes are obsessing over this same trend.
Would you wear the bead bracelet? If the price disconcerts you, Oliver Smith has a similar model for a little less than $2000. Other black bead bracelets that are still stylish at a small price are available from online stores like Asos or you can pick up a beaded bracelet for under $5 in Chinatown or off of eBay. Either way, it looks like the beaded bracelet is here to stay, at least until the H-O-V picks a new signature accessory. We’ll see if the NBA follows suit yet again. Only time and good stylist, will tell!