Lifestyle

Championship Diamonds, Part One: The Beverly Hills Jeweller Icing Out the NBA

When an NBA player wants ice like Winnipeg, Jason of Beverly Hills is the first call. Jason crafts the finest jewels for minted athletes, rappers and celebrities. From designing five Championship rings to bejewelling Andre Iguodala’s teeth, the famed silversmith drops gems on writer Jimmy Ness

Jewellery is a form of communication. It says how we feel about ourselves, who we remember and what we believe. A necklace might convey wealth, religion, marital status or pure, unfettered, fresh to death, wipe me down, swag

No matter what the jewels proclaim, Jason of Beverly Hills loves the conversation. Drake and ASAP Rocky’s favourite iceman, he adorns A-listers, royalty and the mega-rich. Jason’s lockbox includes diamond-encrusted loafers, a $400k iPhone case and the priciest toy car ever made. Basketball, however, is the soul of the operation.

Around half of all active NBA players wear Jason’s product. His reputation for educating rather than fleecing stars means he’s often introduced right after they’re drafted. LeBron, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green all met the jeweller before their first games.  

Financial wisdom aside, players also depend on JBH’s discretion. He’ll produce a disco-ball chain for a draft pick, help surprise their childhood friend or privately commemorate their loved one. JBH will polish the wedding ring – he’ll also appease the side-chick who didn’t get invited.

Jason’s so ingrained in the NBA; he’s learned to interpret the signs of a long career as well an upcoming blowout. Jewellery purchases say more than you’d think.

When a player examines what they’re buying, to learn what separates the VVS from the cubic zirconia – that attention to detail often translates into their wider career. A rookie who’s savvy with diamonds will likely read a sponsorship deal closely or think twice about leasing that third Mercedes. 

“If I meet a young player and he comes in with an entourage of 20 people, I know that this guy’s probably going to be running out of money before year three,” Jason attests.

“When I met LeBron, for example, the first time he asked all the right questions. This is the kid that I remember just going to Cleveland and being in a hotel room and he wouldn’t stop working out. He had those exercise balls and was doing sit-ups. He literally sat there and did it for hours and hours on end. This guy was on magazine covers when he was sixteen years old. He had that work ethic at that age, and he had a great group of friends around him. And the result is what you see today.”

The intuitive jeweller also references Andre Iguodala; a repeat customer and someone he describes as “one of the smartest business people in the NBA.” Jason worked closely with Iguodala and the rest of the Golden State Warriors while designing their 2015, 2017 and 2018 Finals rings.

“This guy is just thirsty for information. I think he’s been really good at positioning himself in a way that he is more than like what LeBron says – more than an athlete. He’s turned himself into a businessman. That time he spent in Golden State, he put himself in a very strategic position. He’s around some of the smartest owners in sports. The Golden State Warriors are owned by some of the smartest venture capitalists in the business. And he did not waste any time in soaking up knowledge,” JBH recalls. 

“Oftentimes, players just simply don’t do that. They’re going over there to play and play well and collect the check. But Andre was looking for something even more. That’s what I think makes him special.” 

Jason admires anyone with a starvation-level hunger for success. After all, he gets it. He’s not shooting jumpers all day, but he is on the treadmill. The owner of four storefronts, a catalogue of clientele and a father of two; Jason’s perpetually at the grindstone. 

Back when he was Mr Arasheben rather than the glitzy “Of Beverly Hills,” Jason ditched law school to sell accessories. He peddled hair-clips and trinkets on campuses, but a small-time salary wasn’t enough. He wanted to go major league.

With no coin for advertising, Arasheben confronted potential clientele face-to-face. He was promoting himself every night; forcing conversations and pitching to anyone with two ears and deep pockets. The jewellery equivalent of hawking CDs out of your car; Jason drained every paycheck on appearing in the right places. 

The native Angelino deciphered where athletes aged between 24-34 liked to party when they were in his city. Out of towners went from the airport to the same bar. Lakers ate Wagyu steak at the same grill. They frequented the same clubs and finished up at identical after-hours spots. 

“Oftentimes, [players] were annoyed and they felt like I was pestering them. And there are other times they were very gracious and excited to meet someone new. I think that way of doing things really worked for me. I wasn’t shy. I wasn’t apprehensive. I would go up to the guys, introduce myself, tell them what I did. And, you know, some would give me a chance and some would tell me to get out of their face, but I did whatever I had to do.” 

Fueled by the true, but moth-bitten cliche of never taking no for an answer, Jason kept pitching until someone relented. The late Anthony Mason was among the first. After a dozen encounters; Mason finally told the aspiring jeweller to come to his hotel the next day. 

Jason spent all night sketching ideas he had no idea how to set, manufacture or polish. The All-Star chose a necklace which Jason guestimated would be 40K. He somehow pulled off the contract, made a slim profit and his empire bloomed from there. 

Almost twenty years later, and the game has changed. Jason’s team can handle any request – no matter how unpractical, bizarre, or lavish. Concepts are built using design software, 3D-printed for hands-on testing then etched into fine metals. 

Jason draws the line at bejewelling a player’s gun or sinfully swapping another’s face with Jesus but almost everything gets the green light. Previous unique builds (and there are many) include a 3D pendant of Marquis Daniels’ head, a drug vial filled with “prescription diamonds,” and a 1KG owl for Drake delivered in a custom birdcage.

Jason’s ethos is if his mother doesn’t like it – he’s on the right track. His catalogue is laced with designs which border between gaudy and stylish. He once built a five-foot aquarium with so many jewels it killed the fish.

“Andre [Iced-Out Iguodala], he had his wisdom teeth pulled. And I was like ‘okay, what do you want me to do?’ He was like ‘I’m sending you my wisdom teeth and I want you to put a little diamond casing around it and I can wear it around my neck.'” 

Kelly Oubre, Jordan Clarkson and Brandon Jennings also get shout-outs for pushing convention. JBH refers to the diamond bone necklace and ruby heart earrings he created for Jennings’ label Tuff Crowd

“You know, a lot of times men wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing that [jewellery.] Brandon doesn’t care, he’s willing to push the envelope. He’s willing to be creative and live on the edge. So that kind of stuff is fun to do. Because he’s not afraid of not fitting within a box. He’s willing to think outside of it.”

Jason’s innovation also extends to championship rings. His 2018 piece, made for the Warriors, is the most valuable finals token across any major sport. Encrusted in navy sapphires and white diamonds, its total karat weight means you could buy several cars with its value.

The 2010 Lakers circlet was ambitious for a different reason. Within each gold ring, he included leather fragments of the game-seven ball. Sourcing the exclusive collectible only to cut it into pieces was so difficult that team owner Jeanie Buss had to personally pull favours from the NBA Office. 

JBH returns this year to commemorate LeBron’s legacy-defining triumph against Miami. The project is secretive to the point that Jason avoided confirming on the phone until the official announcement a few days later. 

Check out part two where we go deeper into championship merch as well as Jason’s contracts for Michael Jackson and Drake.