Exclusive Interview With King of Bling Chris Aire
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They call Chris Aire the ‘King of Bling’ with good reason. Chris dreams BIG! He saw how neglected the urban demographic was and designed styles that helped lead the urban jewelry market into a multibillion dollar industry. Chris keeps his collection fresh and exciting, and always a step or two ahead of the rest. He is responsible for key jewelry trends from his diamond dog tags that were worn in Bad Boys starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, tri-tags, and the oversized Aire traveler timepiece series.
He made history when he was the first jeweler to put on a show during New York’s fashion week showcasing jewelry as fashion. Chris Aire fashion shows have become highly anticipated events. Everyone waits to see what freshness Chris has to offer and what cutting edge piece will be worn down the runway.
Everyone from Halle Berry, Oprah, Angelina Jolie, Jamie Fox, 50 Cent, Will Smith, and Nelly have worn Chris Aire designs. Chris very well could be caught up with Hollywood and all the screens and mirrors that it brings but he is not. The ‘King of Bling’ wears very little bling and remains humble. Jamati Online had a chance to catch up with this innovator and he filled us in on how it all began and what’s next for his company.
Jamati: Some say you are from Benin and some say you are Nigerian. Can you clear this up and tell us which part of Africa you are representing?
I am a Nigerian who grew up in Benin city. I consider myself a citizen of the world and speak to the similarity in all mankind.
Jamati: You have quite a story. You started off in the music business and acting. Can you tell us about those days?
I think every artist goes through a period of soul searching in trying to find the instrument that best expresses their inner light. I went through the same experience. Music, acting and designing are really all the same art form. They all express that which is embedded in your subconscious. I am very glad I settled on the one that most expresses who I am and I am truly blessed to have been embraced by so many people.
Jamati: You are known as ‘the King of Bling’ and ‘the Ice-Man’ and your jewelry has been worn by the biggest names in Hollywood. How did you go from acting and music into the jewelry business?
It was a conscious decision to concentrate all my efforts in designing and marketing fine jewelry and to succeed or fail doing it.
Jamati: Most rappers are more known for their bling than their music. This is the norm today but it wasn’t too long ago when no jewelers were catering to the urban crowd. You saw the void and found your niche. Can you elaborate on this?
Yes. The Urban Crowd was a grossly overlooked market. They are unique and most of them express themselves in ways that were not overly commercial. I recognized this growing and unserviced niche and decided to cater to them when no one else was.
Jamati: You are a trendsetter! You have patented Red Gold. Wow! Congratulations my brother. Can you take credit for the dog tags? Were you the first jeweler to bling them out?
Thank you. We hold the trade mark to Red Gold and yes we were indeed the first company to introduce diamond decorated dog tags to commerce.
Jamati: Award season is once again upon us. Will your jewels be on the red carpet at the Oscars or the Grammys this year?
It is our hope to continue to be embraced by the entertainers and the entertainment industry. As long as they keep seeking us out, it will always be an honor to provide them with their jewelry needs for the red carpet and other occasions.
Jamati: I must applaud you for your prices. You have the half million and million dollar pieces and you have pieces that are affordable at $1500 and less. Was this intentional?
Yes. We understand that all fingers are not created equal, yet each individual finger performs a very special function that is important to the efficiency of your entire hand.
Jamati: There is much talk about blood diamonds and conflict diamonds. I think what some don’t understand is that not all diamonds are conflict diamonds. The message isn’t that no one should wear diamonds but that they must be aware of where diamonds come from, right? What are your thoughts on this?
Very well said. It is important that people understand that not all diamonds are conflict diamonds and boycotting diamonds can actually have a reverse effect on the people they are trying to help, as it is their only means of feeding themselves and their families. We have always prided ourselves in using conflict free diamonds. It is important that we are socially responsible and that you ask your jeweler about the source of their diamonds.
Jamati: Do you have a favorite design out of all your designs?
I smile whenever I get that question. It is akin to asking a parent which child is their favorite. Some designs are more challenging than others, but they all have their own different rewards. Even if I had a favorite I won’t tell you (smile).
Jamati: February is the month of love with Valentine’s Day. A lot of engagement rings will be bought this month. Have you collaborated with some celebrities on that special ring?
We are working with some of our clients on their special gifts for Valentine’s Day and all I can tell you is that not all of them are engagement rings.
Jamati: What is next for Chris Aire?
Expansion of the business and creating a network of support that can sustain what we have been blessed with thus far.
Jamati: Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with Jamati Online Chris. Any advice for our readers and those who aspire to grow up and be the next King of Bling?
For those who are living their dreams, give thanks regularly and for those who aspire, dream big and trust that the force that brought you here has everything you need for your greater joy, greater peace and your greater success in all you do.
What great advice from such a humble man! For more information on Chris Aire, visit his website.
Check out video from the 2007 Chris Aire Spring Collection below.