It may come as no surprise that Icebox, the Atlanta jewelry store described by The New York Times as “the ne plus ultra of contemporary hip-hop luxury,” does a brisk business in iced-out Cuban chains. But the decades-old style, which is said to have originated in the early 1970s when hip-hop pioneers such as DJ Kool Herc popularized the look of chunky gold chains, is in the midst of a renaissance that reaches far past the borders of the urban music scene. And much of it is being driven by men.
Known for its thick, round, flattened links (similar, but not identical, to curb links), the Cuban chain—the name is of apocryphal origin, but all signs suggest that Miami-based jewelers helped get the style noticed—is this season’s hero accessory. Usually rendered in gold, modern takes on the style are available in silver, platinum, even black ceramic, with copious amounts of diamonds, a mere sprinkling of stones, or entirely gem free.
Whether it comes in the form of a bracelet, necklace, or ring—in a smaller, more subtle link or a big, bold version that screams for attention—the Cuban chain makes a statement. It is an haute and masculine choice for anyone looking for instant street cred.
Here are seven new Cuban chain styles that lend this perennial favorite a 21st-century vibe.
Top: Cuban chain necklace in 14k white gold with 19.87 cts. t.w. diamonds, $51,900; Twila True Fine Jewelry & WatchesFollow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
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