Hip-hop is a genre that has gained its worldwide status for its coolness, keeping it real lyrically, and providing smooth beats for all of that stuff to float on. It’s mostly all down to the music, but there’s no denying that aesthetics and style are an essential part of the genre.
From the early days of 2pac’s minimalistic diamond nose stud to the current trap-star landscape of highly complex and insanely expensive chains, fashion has always had a place in hip-hop, particularly when it comes to jewelry.
When you think of hip-hop jewelry, you might think of the latest Yeat or Riff Raff chain, and whilst I love the modern stuff, I think you cannot beat the simplicity and elegance of old-school hip-hop jewelry such as the chains worn by Jay Z.
Whether you’re looking for a simple yet tasteful chain to add to your collection or simply want to pay homage to your favorite rapper and producer Jay Z, you’re going to want to read on to find out my opinion on the best Jay Z style chains.
Bottom Line Up Front: Jay Z Style Chains typically feature a minimalistic and subtle Miami Cuban chain with usually only one or two links, and are typically made out of gold.
The size of these chains has changed dramatically throughout Jay Z’s career, but in my opinion, you simply cannot beat these humble days of wearing plain and simple gold Miami Cuban chains such as the LIFETIME BLING 14K Gold Cuban Link Chain.
What Exactly Is a “Jay-Z Style” Chain?
Before we can take a deeper look at how you can find the best Jay-Z-style chains, it’s going to be important for us to establish exactly what we mean by this. Simply put, Jay-Z style chains are generally minimalistic yet thick and heavy chains, generally stylized by one or two Miami-Cuban links.
Due to his fame and fortune, real chains that Jay-Z wears will generally be made out of ultra-expensive materials such as high-carat gold and diamond, but in my opinion, any chain that follows this simplistic yet bold Miami Cuban style is a Jay-Z style chain.
Whilst this stylistic choice has stayed consistent throughout Jay-Z’s career, other properties of his neck jewelry have not. For example, the rapper and producer have experimented with suspending many different pieces of jewelry from his chain, ranging from small and subtle religious symbols to heavy and bulky pendants.
To make it clear, whilst Jay-Z has been known to wear these ornaments and pendants on his chain, we are not discussing these today, instead focussing on the chain.
However, most chains will have a suspension mechanism that will allow you to add your own pendant or ornament, so be sure to check out your options online to see if you can find something similar to those that Jay-Z uses! For this guide though, we’re simply going to be focussing on Jay-Z’s chains.
The other major factor that has changed over the years is the size of Jay-Z’s chains, but once again let me remind you that Jay-Z style chains concern the Miami Cuban links and the design, not the customizable features such as the size.
Take a look at some pictures online and you’ll notice that despite always sticking to that Cuban link design, earlier snaps of Jay-Z usually feature more subtle and humble sizes, whereas later in his career Jay-Z became more comfortable at flaunting his success through enormous diamond chains.
Ultimately, a Jay-Z style chain concerns simple and minimalistic Cuban Miami link chains that are worn around the neck and produced in all manner of different sizes and materials.
Yes, many people including Jay-Z add ornaments to their chains but that is a decision you will make later on – first, let’s get into more details about these chains.
What To Look For In Jay-Z Style Chains
You should now have a decent understanding of exactly what a Jay-Z style chain is, so I think you’re ready to do some research ahead of your purchase.
Whilst you now know what you’re looking for, there are thousands upon thousands of Jay-Z-style chains available online, so it’s going to be important that you know how to filter out the duds – let’s take a look.
Reading this first criterion, you might be thinking “really, are we talking about the style of these chains again?” but please hear me out.
We’ve concluded that Jay-Z style chains are minimalistic Miami Cuban linked chains, but does that mean that you have to buy this pattern? Well, if you’re a huge fan of Jay-Z and don’t have much preference when it comes to jewelry then absolutely – you’d be crazy not to head straight to the Cuban Miami chains.
However, as we discussed earlier, chains are generally not black and white in this way, with many rappers including Jay-Z complementing their chains with complex pendants and ornaments.
Considering that Jay-Z has been known to do this, you don’t necessarily have to go with a Cuban Miami chain. You could instead go for something that you prefer the look of, and then purchase a pendant or ornament to go with it that looks similar to something Jay-Z would wear.
Ultimately, Jay-Z is a very creative dude which has led to his success in music and fashion, so you should walk in his footsteps and never limit yourself to someone else’s fashion sense.
Sure, you could buy a Miami Cuban chain just like Jay-Z or even a similar pendant, but you don’t necessarily need to get both. Just remember to express yourself and always be yourself.
So you’ve decided to stick with a classic Jay-Z-style Cuban Miami chain – don’t get ahead of yourself, because there are still plenty of things to think about. Firstly, you’re going to need to decide whether you want to be subtle with your chain like old-school Jay-Z, or push the boat out and flaunt it with an oversized masterpiece.
There’s no denying that smaller chains are generally considered to be more tasteful when out and about in everyday life.
They look classy and show that someone likes to take care of their fashion sense, whereas wearing an enormously oversized hulk of a chain could cause some people to be judgemental.
They might think that you are trying to flaunt your wealth, intimidate them, or make up for a boring personality, despite this usually not being true.
This is certainly not the case in other settings though – head to a hip-hop show with a fat Jay-Z style chain and you will get nothing but nods of approval, and the only stares you’ll be receiving are those from jealous hip-hop fans.
However, I would personally recommend that you save such chains for events such as this or for when you’re chilling with people who know your personality. Or heck, ignore the haters and wear your big ass chain because, at the end of the day, it’s your style and your style only.
Overall, choosing the size of your Jay-Z style chain is a pretty important decision, and it can have a pretty big impact on how people perceive your chain.
Jay-Z was often praised in the past for wearing a small and subtle Miami Cuban chain, and wearing larger chains later in his career led some people to believe that the rapper had lost his sense of humbleness.
There is some truth to all this – you can expect to get a lot of stares if you’re wearing a huge chain in Walmart, and you can expect to receive respect for wearing a smaller and more subtle chain.
However, at the end of the day, it is your style and your chain, and I can guarantee that Jay-Z wouldn’t let anyone stop him from wearing what he wanted.
Jay-Z style chains tend to be fairly uniform in their Miami Cuban style and single or double-link design, but it doesn’t stop there. Take a look at photos of Jay-Z across the years, and there is another element that stays pretty consistent – his chains are almost always made out of gold.
The dude did go through a face from around 2001 to 2005 where he flaunted diamond-encrusted pieces, but it’s clear that the man knows that his roots are held in gold.
Now, this does not mean that you have to do exactly what Jay-Z does – remember, you are an individual and you should craft your style to perfection! If you love Miami Cuban links just like Jay-Z does but think they look better in diamond, then I say go for it.
Hell, perhaps you want a chain encrusted with rubies and sapphires, but to still follow the style of Jay-Z’s chains – you can do exactly that.
However, don’t feel sad if the idea of obtaining a chain made of expensive jewels is completely unobtainable to you. I feel the same, and unless I hit the lottery someday, it’s going to be difficult for me to ever justify owning a chain as expensive as Jay-Z’s.
However, there are tons of cheaper alternatives that still feature some diamond or gold (albeit at a significantly lower carat), and there are even stainless steel and synthetic alternatives that cost less than $20.
Regardless of the cost, you should make sure that you buy your Jay-Z-style chain in a material that looks good to you, this is one of the most important things.
Sure, Jay-Z tends to go for a consistent yellow-gold chain material, but if you think something else would look better, I say go for it. Who knows, you might just start a trend!
All of that talk about diamond-encrusted gold chains has made my bank account feel rather empty, and this is a hard pill to swallow because fancy jewelry does not come cheap.
As I mentioned before, there are plenty of places both online and offline where you can buy nice-looking jewelry for cheap, but this will generally be because the “diamonds” or “gold” that it claims to feature are of a low carat.
If you’re looking to purchase chains of a similar quality to those that Jay-Z wears, however, you’re going to want to get that credit card ready, and four digits aren’t going to cut it.
Thankfully, there is always a middle ground, and you can get some pretty damn incredible jewelry in the range of around $1,000 or even just a couple hundred bucks.
One thing is for sure though – if 1,000 dollars sounds like a lot of money to you, it would be pretty daft to go around spending it on a heavy piece of metal that sits around your neck.
Don’t get me wrong, I love expensive jewelry and if I had a paycheck like Jay-Z, I would be buying it too. However, $1,000 could pay for all sorts of more essential things in my life, so I would personally be choosing something in the $100 to $500 range.
This compromise is key – I’m not going as cheap as possible by buying a tacky $10 chain, but I’m not going overboard either. It’s a chain that I can be proud of, knowing that I saved up to own something so fancy, but I didn’t break the bank in the process.
Overall, only you can know how much you can justify spending on a Jay-Z-style chain, and unless you’re a multi-millionaire, I wouldn’t search for anything more expensive than $1,000.
However, if you have the cash to splash then please don’t think I’m putting you down, because, in reality, I am just jealous of the huge chain that you’ll soon have your hands on.
The Best Jay-Z Style Chains in My Opinion
Okay, we’ve covered a ton of information today including everything from what a Jay-Z style chain looks like, what factors to consider when buying one for yourself, and how it’s unfortunately probably not going to be affordable to purchase a $50,000 chain.
Hopefully, all of this has helped you to narrow down your options a bit, but let’s take that a step further by working through my personal list of favorites.
Richsteel Full Cubic Zirconia Classic Initial Letter A-Z/Bling Number Pendant
If you’re looking for a chain that matches up to the quality of Jay-Z’s own chains, you are probably going to want to skip straight past this option. A quick look at the picture should tell you this isn’t anything too fancy, and it’s clearly not made from real gold.
However, I chose this chain as one of my recommendations because not everyone wants to save up a ton of money only to drop it on a chain. Some people may simply need a Jay-Z-style chain for a costume party, so it’s important for there to be a budget alternative.
My favorite thing about this chain is that it includes a customizable pendant, which can read any letter from A to Z and any number from 1 to 10. Choose the letter “Z”, and you’ve already got yourself a gold-looking Cuban-style chain directly linked to Jay-Z for less than $25!
- Very affordable at around ~$25
- Perfect for costume parties
- Includes a customizable pendant (we’d recommend the letter Z in name of Jay-Z!)
- 18K plated gold
- 22-inch chain, making it perfect for hip-hop (and not so perfect for day-to-day wear)
- Whilst 18K plated gold sounds fancy, it’s essentially low-grade gold that has been painted over brass and nickel
LIFETIME BLING 14K Gold Cuban Link Chain Necklace for Men
The next Jay-Z style chain recommendation that I have for you today is my personal favorite – it’s the LIFETIME BLING 14K Gold Cuban Link Chain Necklace for Men. Now, you might be surprised to hear that this is my favorite chain because it’s still one of the cheapest chains on this list.
However, expensive is not always better, and I think there is something very respectable about having the discipline to save up for a gold chain, without going overboard and letting your ego get involved.
This chain is not cheap coming in at just under $250, but I think it represents a perfect balance between buying a high-quality gold chain without going crazy. It might take you all year to save up for it but it’s pretty affordable, and for a 24K gold chain, you can’t beat it for value.
- Made from real 24K gold
- Features the small and light Cuban link style Jay-Z wore in his early days
- A perfect balance between quality and budget
- Perfectly subtle, fitting in perfectly in day-to-day clothing
- If you prefer Jay-Z’s more modern and fancy style, the small size of this chain might not cut it for you
- $250 is still a lot of money to spend on a chain, although it’s a very fair price considering the quality
YYQPF CZ Micro Pave Zircon 18K Gold Plated Big Cuban Link Chain
If you’re looking for a Jay-Z style chain on the cheap for next week’s hip-hop-themed costume party, I’m afraid that from this point onwards my recommendations probably are not going to be suitable. Take a look at this beauty of a chain and you’ll quickly see what I mean – it costs nearly $2,000!
However, take a quick look at the pictures and specifications and all will become clear. Firstly, just look at it, it’s damn beautiful and looks exactly like something Jay-Z would wear. The bulk of the chain itself is made from brass and plated with 18K gold, not to mention each link being encrusted with CZ!
For those who don’t know what CZ is, it’s the same material that was used to make 2pac’s famous nose stud. It shimmers and dazzles viewers in the same way as diamonds, but CZ is not a diamond. Instead, it stands for “cubic zirconia”, a far-less rare material than diamond.
This may put people off, but what do you love about diamonds so much? Is it their stunning dazzling nature, or having the status of wearing diamonds? Because if it’s the second option, that’s a bit daft unless you’re made of money, they look almost identical!
- Very high quality featuring 26 inches of 18K gold-plated brass encrusted with CZ
- Whilst CZ is far cheaper and lower quality than diamond, it looks almost identical
- This is the closest chain you’ll find to something diamond-encrusted without paying tens of thousands of dollars!
- Unless you’re a serious jewelry enthusiast, the price of this chain is probably going to be eye-watering
- Despite the price tag, this chain still does not feature authentic diamonds, but CZ
Giggy’s 10K Two Tone Real Baguette Diamond Miami Cuban Chain 12MM 34.85 CT
We’ve finally reached the end of my list of the best Jay-Z style chains, and don’t worry because I save the best chain for last. That last YYQPF chain was pretty high-end at around $2,000, but some of you big spenders might still be able to afford it.
Well, I challenge you to afford this final masterpiece, the Giggy’s 10K Two Tone Real Baguette Diamond Miami Cuban Chain 12MM 34.85 CT coming in at a whopping $65,000.
Forget getting a mortgage on a family home when you could just get this ridiculously huge chain, akin to something Jay-Z would wear in his more recent flaunty appearances.
For your money, you’ll be receiving something pretty darn incredible. Handcrafted by the jewelry experts at Giggy’s in London, the chain is 24 inches of 10k 34.85ct multi-tone gold and diamond encrusted onto a Miami Cuban chain… it’s truly spectacular.
However, if that wasn’t enough, you could even pay an additional $20,000 for deluxe GVS quality diamonds, or if you’re still not satisfied, $40,000 for premium FVVS diamonds. Overall, that iced-out chain would cost you over $100,000, more money than a lot of people around the world will earn in a lifetime.
I love this chain and I think that it would suit both Jay-Z and myself perfectly. However, I think I’m going to have to let go of the dream of someday wearing this chain, so all I can hope is that Jay-Z will eventually purchase it for himself.
- A stunning multi-tone gold and diamond chain, chunky and long
- Hand-crafted by Giggy’s, a world-renowned premium jeweler based in London
- Features 34.85ct gold and diamond at 10K.
- Jay-Z would approve of the classic Miami Cuban chain
- Starts at a phenomenal $65,000, and this is for the lowest quality diamond option!
- Even if you could afford this, is your neck and core strength good enough to hold this chain up!?
I always think it must be tough to leave such a detailed guide to the best Jay-Z style chains, so much information must be buzzing around your head! To make this information overload more manageable, let’s take a moment to break things down into smaller pieces through the following FAQs.
Answer: A Jay-Z style chain is typically a single or double-link Miami Cuban chain made from gold, although the design is the most consistent factor with Jay-Z’s exact chains ranging in size and material.
Answer: Whilst the heavy and high-quality gold and diamond chains that Jay-Z wears would have been bought for tens of thousands of dollars, there are many less extravagant Miami Cuban chains out there across all price ranges.
Answer: The best material and size for a Jay-Z style chain varies greatly depending on where and when you plan on wearing it, but a small gold Miami Cuban chain is subtle enough for any occasion.
Well, that brings us to the end of this guide to the best Jay-Z-style chains! We’ve covered a heck of a lot of information, and I truly hope that all of my research has made your life much easier.
Whilst I would be amazed if anyone reading this ends up copping something as expensive as a Giggy’s chain, I like to think that with enough hard work and dedication, anyone can show off some Jay-Z-style bling with high-quality budget options such as the LIFETIME 14K Gold Cuban chain.
Whether you end up purchasing the cheapest chain on Amazon or the most expensive bespoke piece from Giggy’s, remember to always focus on complementing your style with jewelry, instead of copying others.
It’s great to be inspired and get a chain in a similar style to Jay-Z, but don’t be afraid to add your own swing on things with a unique pendant, ornament, or material choice. Good luck!
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