With the arrival of hip hop jewelry and style from the early nineties onwards jewelers have been in a mad scramble to serve this market. This type of custom made jewelry in precious metals and stones is at the top of the wholesale jewelry food chain because in reality they are not wholesale at all. Custom made iced out jewelry is actually a premier retail market because jewelry is made to order and can cost up to five times more than a similar item that you find already made in a jewelry store. The Wholesale jewelry market is about regular rap styles that are mass produced in China or India whether in precious or semi-precious metals and stones.
Hip hop jewelry with its emphasis on extreme amounts of metal and small stone settings is particularly well suited for manufacture in low cost production centers like China and India. It is here that wholesalers of hip hop jewelry designs will go to source the factory production of their designs. There is more small diamond production in India than anywhere else in the world. Availability of vast quantities of matched round and square polished diamonds in India coupled with the vast labor pool of skilled setters make India and also China the places to subcontract out production of successful rap jewelry designs. Wholesalers know this and as soon as a jewelry model shows some sign of success in the retail market, they begin to contract out factory production capacity in these countries to scale up production and lower costs so they can put together a budget for further marketing the successful models.
This approach worked well for jewelry made from gold and platinum till 2007 when gold and platinum spot prices began to move dramatically upwards to the $800 to $900 dollar an ounce mark. Wholesalers had no choice but to pay more attention to similar style jewelry made from silver and stainless steel since they could push up their inventory prices only so much before jewelry in gold would become unsaleable. Retailers began to see many designs that were previously available only in gold suddenly become available in silver and steel and this changed the retail and wholesale markets for hip hop jewelry. Rap jewelry enthusiasts could now purchase silver versions of their favorite designs studded with cubic zirconias or rhinestones for under $200.
The rise of silver and steel in the jewelry wholesale market and the lowering of price points for great hip hop jewelry pieces suddenly made this jewelry affordable to a whole segment of youth that would never have spent a full semester of college tuition on a piece of real iced out jewelry. In addition to clothing followers of rap culture could now sport jewelry pieces that their favorite artists wore without breaking the bank. Jewelry wholesalers could now introduce a plethora of iced out jewelry styles to small retailers at a fraction of the cost of the precious jewelry. In the process a whole new generation of jewelry shoppers could now get online or into a jewelry retailer and complete their rap attitude and style with multiple pieces of hip hop jewelry at affordable prices.