We’ve all heard the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” — but in reality, who we are is often synonymous with what other people can see. In a world based on perception, everything from body language to how you dress becomes an opportunity to tell your story. The caveat with this silent dialogue is that it puts your message in the hands (or eyes) of whoever receives it. Historically, we’ve created common understandings to cut down on the confusion. A crown, a wedding ring, a religious pendant— we know what they mean when we see them. While these symbols are tenured, other accessory staples signify a cultural shift in taking back the narrative. For one chain, its arrival on the scene in the 70’s acts as an emblem of heritage and homage to the birth hip-hop.
While the exact origin of the Cuban link chain is unknown, its rise to recognition goes hand in hand with early hip hop culture. Emerging at block parties in the Bronx, artists like DJ Cool Herc popularized this statement accessory trend. Mirroring the music from which it stems, this new necklace style was bold, unique, and unapologetic. From its substantial weight to its interlocking thick chain links, everything about this chain is designed to stand out. And as hip-hop music and culture continued to expand, so did the Cuban link. Evolving in thickness, length, and embellishment, the artists of this genre had an eye for
opulence and showcased wealth around their neck. An expression of status and success, fans and fashion lovers alike adopted the burgeoning style of hip-hop culture. Despite its status as a cultural centerpiece, the Cuban link truly started dominating the jewelry scene in 2012 when Rap royalty like Jay-Z and DJ Khaled sparked controversy over who’s Cuban link chain was the heaviest. The beef brought even more attention to the already classic chain, causing online searches for the style to skyrocket like never before. In recent years, the chain has maintained its title as a high-end heavyweight in the hip-hop world and beyond.
Although gold was traditionally the go-to metal for OG Cuban link chains, as popularity progresses with a style, so does preference. Today, the iterations of Cuban link jewelry are endless: thick, thin, long, short, gold, silver, embellished, necklaces, bracelets, and so much more — solidifying its prominence in both fashion history, and in the MARRIN COSTELLO Classics Collection. The style may have a multitude of new looks but the motivation by its wearers remains the same — to be seen.