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Judge the Jewels: Kendrick Lamar’s Custom Tiffany Crown of Thorns Turns Heads, Sparks Controversy

He commissioned Tiffany & Co. to create this spectacularly unusual and memorable custom crown of thorns.

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The sighting: Rapper Kendrick Lamar commissioned a special piece of jewelry to wear on the cover of his latest album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers. The Pulitzer Prize-winning musical artist also wore his eye-catching new jewel to perform at the recent Glastonbury Festival in England.

The jewels: Lamar commissioned Tiffany & Co. to create this spectacularly unusual and memorable custom crown of thorns. The titanium headpiece took 10 months to create. It features 50 thorns of varying shapes and required a total of 1,300 hours to set its 8,000 diamonds (over 137 TCW). The piece was designed by Lamar himself in collaboration with Dave Free for pgLang and Tiffany & Co.

The crown of thorns takes its aesthetic inspiration from Jean Schlumberger’s iconic Thorns brooch, which features a 47 carat sapphire held within a nest of twining gold thorns.

What do we think? When I saw this piece, my mouth fell open like I was a cartoon coyote who just realized that it’s  about to be hit by a falling anvil. It’s a remarkable celebrity jewelry moment: The inspiration is interestingly controversial, the craftsmanship is immaculate, and the design is wildly gorgeous.

I have been known to lament that celebrities rarely use their buckets of money to make interesting jewelry happen, but Lamar certainly came through on this one. It’s fascinating and beautiful, and it definitely caused a lot of buzz.

Tiffany’s social media and website skirt the issue of the crown’s religious inspiration by focusing on its technical marvels and the potential metaphorical interpretations of its meaning, but take a look at the comments on those posts and you’ll see that it’s getting some strong reactions.

Is it appropriate to make an exquisite haute joaillerie crown that mimics the key iconography of a major religious figure? I’m not prepared to pass judgment on that particular question. But Lamar definitely did it with style.

Judgement: 12/10 for an incredible piece of jewelry with a potentially large controversy attached to it.

 

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Becky Stone writes about jewelry styles for INSTORE. She is founder and CEO of well-known jewelry blog Diamonds in the Library.

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