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  • The Evolution of the Jesus Piece

    Here’s something you don’t get to hear every day, quite surprisingly, religion and Hip Hop share a deeply interlaced history. From Hip Hop artists to the toughest gangster rappers, Christian symbols and figures have appeared in so many music videos, music award ceremonies and on the red carpet.

     Hip Hop artist wearing Jesus Piece

    Next to the crucifix, the Jesus Piece pendant has been seen worn around the necks of today’s generation of artists including Biggie, Jay-Z and Kanye West and not only that even Lebron James is seen donning the Jesus Piece.

    Lebron James wearing Black Good Wood Jesus Piece
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  • West and Arabo Partnership

    Kanye West and Jacob Arabo

    Kanye West was responsible for the Jesus Piece trend when he collaborated with the renowned Hip Hop Jewelry Jacob Arabo in 2004 when they introduced a collection of religious-themed jewelry pieces.

    Jesus Piece with crowns of thorns

    The remarkable Jesus image showed a crown of thorns surrounding a smooth mane of hair. Jesus was also shown to have compassionate and gentle eyes with a bushy beard. The Jesus Piece has been mentioned in some of Kanye’s songs entitled Selfish and Diamonds from Sierra Leone.

    Kanye West wearing Jesus Piece

    When the iconic Hip Hop artist Kanye West began showing the world the pendant wherever he went other celebrities followed the trend as it represented their faith. However, in true Hip Hop fashion the original Jesus piece was actually ornamented with gemstones and precious metals with a diamond mine and ruby tears that ran down Jesus’ face.

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  • The First Jesus Piece

    Even though Jacob and Kanye took most of the credit for having invented the Jesus piece, die-hard Hip Hop enthusiasts say they have seen the same piece slung around the neck of the late Notorious B.I.G in the middle of the 1990s.

    Notorious B.I.G (wearing 2 Jesus pieces and his trademark versace shades)

    If you listen to his rap song “I Love the Dough” and his posthumous album entitled “Life After Death” you’ll hear it mentioned in his lyrics “You seen the Jesus…Even got rocks in the beard and mustache.” It is believed that the original OG designer, Tito, created the Jesus Piece pendant.

    OG designer -Tito

    Prodigy, D-Roc, Lil Cease and Ghostface were early rap artists who were spotted donning the iconic Jesus Piece pendant created by the New York City jeweler. As a matter of fact, a younger Jay-Z who was seen on the cover of XXL, a Hip Hop magazine in 1999 December, sported a Jesus Piece in gold. Rumor has it that it was the exact same pendant owned by Biggie. When Biggie died his pendant was passed down to his son.

    Biggie's Jesus Piece

    Yet despite all these, majority of the molds you’ll find in the market are actually based on the image created by the collaboration of Jacob and Kanye.

    Jacob Arabo (Right)

    From Chamillionaire to Ja Rule to a throng of Hip Hop fanatics, the iconic Jesus piece has been regarded as a way to share their belief and faith with the rest of the world.

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  • The Materials Used

    Big yellow silver Jesus Piece

    Originally, the Jesus pendants were made of silver, gold or platinum and they had more than a dozen of diamonds that accented Jesus’ facial features.

    Jesus Piece wooden version with cubic zirconia stones

    It was only recently when the original versions are quite hard to find. At present, Jesus pieces come in wooden and brass versions that are ornamented with authentic cubic zirconia stones.

    3D wooden Jesus Piece pendant

    Through this design, the Jesus piece became less expensive. This explains why the Jesus pendant has increasingly become the most sought-after and in-demand pieces of jewelry in an industry of Hip Hop fashion.

    Jesus Piece rainbow bright colors

    The Jesus pieces pendants come in an array of materials, colors and styles. Some pieces come in a shade of electric pink, gold, silver and caramel brown.

    Black maple wood Jesus Piece

    There are those who choose a plated metal piece or a black wooden piece since it not only represents their faith it’s also a symbol of their cultural pride.

    Mini Micro Jesus Piece Pendant Necklace

    The pendant is available in both small and large sizes and more often the pendant is paired with a beaded necklace that has a caged finish or a chunky Franco link chain.

    Kanye West photographed wearing a Jesus Piece

    When Kanye debuted the Jesus Piece he was photographed wearing a Jesus Piece designed by none other than Takashi Murakami at a Louise Vuitton event and a BET surprise performance.

    Kanye West layers gold Jesus Pieces

    Being the bold fashion icon as he is, Kanye is able to pull off several layers of Jesus pieces and gold necklaces hung around his neck in the variety of colors and styles.

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  • Other Jesus Piece-Inspired Items

    Accessories with Jesus image

    This famous piece inspired the creation of other jewelry and accessory pieces that have the Jesus image.

    Jesus Piece Rosary

    Other Jesus Piece-inspired items include a rosary necklace with the head of Jesus dangling at the center or a beaded rosary with a crucifix at the end or the second head of Jesus.

    Wooden Jesus Piece in different colors

    Similar to the original version, the rosary-inspired necklace can be made of either metal or wood.

  • References

    1.  Netshiheni, Rudzani. "History of the Jesus Piece". Hype Magazine. Retrieved 2014-07-23.
    2. Reid, Shaheem. "The Notorious B.I.G.’s Signature Accessories"MTV News. MTV. Retrieved 2014-07-23.
    3. Kanye West: Head of the Class". Rolling Stones. Retrieved 2014-07-23.
    4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_piece_(jewelry). Retrieved 2015-11-27.
    5. https://curtismwest.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/the-evolution-of-the-jesus-piece/. Retrieved 2015-11-25.