“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” was an expression first made famous by Marilyn Monroe in the 1953 big screen musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Strutting down the stairs clad in a hot pink gown and an array of flashy jewels, the blond bombshell’s number about exploiting men for riches instantly became a classic piece of pop iconography, sparking an endless number of cover versions from the world’s biggest stars.
Nearly 70 years later, Megan Thee Stallion recently paid homage to the scene with her hit 2020 collaboration with Normani, titled “Diamonds,” creating a catchy chant out of the beloved quote, while calling out luxury brands like Tiffany & Co. and Cartier. “I don’t need you, all my diamonds drippin’ wet,” the rapper states, blowing off the men in her life so long as she has her trusted bling, proving that even today, diamonds are an instrumental part of the music industry, especially when it comes to projecting the fabulous lifestyles of the rich and famous.
While the classic brands, also including Harry Winston and Chopard, are still red carpet go-to’s for all popular musicians, the biggest hip-hop stars enjoy decked out ice from designers like Jacob the Jeweler and Ben Baller to stand out from the diamond-covered crowd. And who can blame them? People are eager to celebrate as New Year’s Eve approaches, finally being able to reunite with friends and family, and don their best jewelry and apparel for a night of revelry. Nothing makes one feel their best like than an assortment of blinging diamonds, and if you can’t afford the same splattering of the real thing like Rihanna or Beyonce—who sported more than 200 carats worth in her Tiffany & Co. campaign earlier this year—there’s nothing wrong with compensating with the help of their aspirational lyrics and hard-hitting beats.
Gold chains became the accessory of choice for rappers in the ‘80s, with many competing for the largest necklace as proof of their success. But as the gold wars reached a fever pitch in the ‘90s, diamond-encrusted pieces took their place as the perfect display of their affluence. In the decades since, iced-out chains have become a requisite for any major hip-hop star when making a public appearance. Some go for the biggest diamonds, while others focus on the most unique designs—basically, whatever will garner the most attention. It’s a more practical signifier of one’s extravagant lifestyle than cars or homes, and as anyone in the industry knows, showing off your stature when attending a major event is the best way to keep your name in lights. Even pop stars have gotten in on the act, one-upping each other with stunning diamond pieces to catch the lights of every photographer.
With the dawn of social media, these high-profile names have even larger platforms to brag about their glistening collections. Now that they don’t have to wait for an award show or a magazine cover to put on natural diamonds; they can just post about their gleaming indicators of fame, fortune, aspirations and timelessness. And if all else fails, they can just put it in a song, like Cardi B rapping about rocks in her diamond watches, Ariana crooning about buying all of her favorite things for her and her friends, or A$AP Rocky pointing out his “mouthful of diamonds.” When a celebrity wants to celebrate or is on the hunt for a piece of self-validation, the alluring siren call of diamonds has never been louder.
A little sparkle goes a long way for any New Year’s Eve celebration or ensemble, and with loosened restrictions this year amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we’ve created the perfect party playlist full of diamond-studded bops. If you are attending a massive blowout or hosting a party for one, regardless of whether or not you are smothered in carats of diamonds, these tracks on our YouTube playlist below will fill you with the glamorous spirit of the evening.