Drake’s Diamond Necklace Is My Favorite Celebrity Jewelry Moment of 2022

EditorsDec 21, 2022

Drake’s Diamond Necklace Is My Favorite Celebrity Jewelry Moment of 2022

It says a lot about millennial and Gen-Z consumer attitudes, writes Senior Editor Ashley Davis.

This screenshot from the Instagram page of jeweler Alex Moss New York shows the 351-carat “Previous Engagements” necklace he made for Drake. (Image courtesy of Instagram @AlexMoss)
I know a woman who was once at a relationship crossroads. 
She and her significant other were either going to break up or get married (you’ve probably known couples in the same scenario), and the coming months would reveal the outcome. 
At that time, the woman happened to find an antique diamond ring she loved at a really good price, so she bought it on the spot and tucked it away.
If the relationship continued, this could be her engagement ring, she figured. If she and her partner went their separate ways, it would be a right-hand ring. They ended up getting married, so a left-hand ring it was.
I know another couple who was talking marriage and planned to get engaged with a family heirloom. 
One day at his parents’ home, the boyfriend’s mother pulled a ring from her jewelry box set with a large cubic zirconia, which she had worn decades ago on vacations in lieu of her regular diamond.
The girlfriend said she would prefer a ring like that to wear in her daily life, as she wasn’t comfortable walking around with a large diamond. Her boyfriend knelt down on the spot and proposed to her with the CZ. She still wears it to this day and never pulls out the heirloom. 
Neither of these scenarios are what we millennials—a generation raised on Disney cartoon romances—would consider traditionally romantic, but they say something about who we are. 
A much more famous man recently debuted an 18-karat white gold Y-necklace with 42 large diamonds, totaling 351.38 carats, each of which would individually make for a seriously sizable diamond jewel. (Mathematically speaking, that averages to more than 8 carats per stone.)
The man was rapper Drake, and the necklace designed by well-known private jeweler to the stars Alex Moss was dubbed “Previous Engagements,” a representation of all diamond rings the artist had considered, but ultimately resisted, doling out.

While 42 possible engagements isn’t relatable to the average person, the average person hasn’t been romantically linked to the likes of Rihanna, Serena Williams, SZA, and Jennifer Lopez, to name a few. 

What does strike a relatable chord, however, is the gesture itself and what it signifies. The engagement ring has long been the pinnacle jewelry purchase, but fewer Americans are getting married today.
In 1990, 29 percent of adults ages 25 to 54 were neither married nor living with a romantic partner, according to Pew Research Center. By 2019, that number had risen to 38 percent, and while some of that group is divorced, the biggest rise was in the number of people who had never married.
The 2022 American Family Survey by Deseret News and the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy at Brigham Young University noted a steady decline in respondents who reported being married over the last seven years, with 50 percent identifying as married in 2015, down to 45 percent in 2022.  
The number of people who report not being in a relationship at all has also risen. While 32 percent of respondents to the American Family Survey said they were not in a relationship in 2015, 37 percent reported not being in a relationship in 2022.
Of course, this isn’t news to the jewelry industry, which has been touting the rise of the self-purchasing customer for years.

 Related stories will be right here … 

Drake and his “Previous Engagements” diamond necklace simply epitomizes the concept. 
The 36-year-old Canadian has had ample opportunity to follow a traditional marital path, but one can arguably assume his focus in adulthood has prioritized his ascension to the peak of popularity in hip-hop and pop music.
After all, the same generation raised on Disney movie happy endings was also raised to “follow their dreams,” and the pursuit of romance and career success don’t always dovetail, and certainly not according to the timelines of generations past.
By giving himself the diamonds he could have given to others, Drake is declaring his independence and self-empowerment. The self-purchase is an act of that very millennial and Gen-Z buzzword our grandparents and parents certainly wouldn’t recognize: self-love
The necklace’s clever name alone indicates Drake’s self-awareness when it comes to his flouting of traditional expectations. 
While considered more successful than all but a handful of people on the planet, “Previous Engagements” is an acknowledgement of the romantic commitments he has foregone, underlining a clear understanding of the societal expectations surrounding marriage that even he can’t avoid.
It’s a topic clearly on his mind, as demonstrated in his music video last summer for the song, “Falling Back,” which featured him marrying not 42, but a respectable 23 brides. 
Drake isn’t the only music superstar who feels the pressure. 
No matter the magnitude of her accomplishments, Taylor Swift apparently feels the same weight of expectations when it comes to marriage.
In “Lavender Haze,” a song off her 2022 album “Midnights,” she sings, “All they keep asking me/Is if I’m gonna be your bride/The only kind of girl they see/Is a one night or a wife.”
On the same track she laments about, “the 1950s shit they want from me,” a clear reference to marriage and possibly motherhood, her many albums and tours be damned. 
Drake’s “Previous Engagements” necklace dropped right at the tail end of 2022, and it’s my favorite celebrity jewelry moment this year, not simply for the breathtaking assortment of diamonds collected into one necklace—a piece that would give Elizabeth Taylor a run for her money—but for its message. 
Jewelry may be less overtly romantic than in times past, but it is no less meaningful. The self-purchase is a celebration of one’s own values and accomplishments, and something jewelers should embrace more, for women and men, in 2023. 

The Latest

Supplier BulletinJan 26, 2023
JA New York Spring Brings the Industry Together

For over 100 years, JA New York has played an integral role in facilitating the evolution of our industry, while also honoring past traditions.

TrendsJan 26, 2023
At Vicenzaoro, Paola De Luca Gazes Into Jewelry’s Future

The trend forecaster and her guests explored unconventional jewelry designs, NFTs, AI art, and more during her Trendvision presentation.

CollectionsJan 26, 2023
NDC and Lorraine Schwartz Announce New ‘EDDI’ Class

The Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative provides diamond credit and mentorship to young brands helmed by BIPOC designers.

Brought to you by
Bringing Over 130 Years of Diamond Expertise to Modern Grading

De Beers Institute of Diamonds provides the very best in diamond verification, education and diamond services.

IndependentsJan 26, 2023
Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry Set to Open 10th Store

It will be located in San Antonio’s Alamo Quarry Market and will be Lee Michaels’ third location in the city.

Weekly QuizJan 26, 2023
This Week’s Quiz
Test your jewelry news knowledge with this short test.
Take the Quiz
Policies & IssuesJan 26, 2023
Diamonds Do Good Names 10 to Board of Directors

Stephanie Gottlieb, Jewelers Mutual’s Mike Alexander, and Craig Rottenberg of Long’s Jewelers are among the new board members.

WatchesJan 25, 2023
These Were 2022’s Top-Selling Watch Brands, Chrono24 Says

Rolex remained No. 1 while a brand known for its pilot watches slipped into the No. 5 spot.

Brought to you by
De Beers Institute of Diamonds Expands to Offer Education

De Beers is sharing over 130 years of experience and expertise through the De Beers Institute of Diamonds with a selection of courses.

MajorsJan 25, 2023
John Hardy Names New CEO

Luxury retail executive Frédéric Levy has taken on the role.

Events & AwardsJan 25, 2023
Couture DAC Accepting Applications for Mentorship Program

Jewelry designers have until early February to apply to take part in Couture's Diversity Action Council program.

CollectionsJan 25, 2023
Stephanie Gottlieb Announces First President, CCO Hire

Morgan P. Richardson joins from La Perla.

Policies & IssuesJan 25, 2023
PGI’s New Portal Wants to Teach You About Platinum

The new portal will share information on responsible platinum sourcing and how it’s used beyond jewelry.

SourcingJan 24, 2023
Tiffany Buys 35 of the Last Diamonds Recovered From Argyle

Purchased directly from Rio Tinto, the collection consists of pinks, purples and one red, none larger than 1.52 carats.

ColumnistsJan 24, 2023
On Data: Here’s How Independent Jewelers Did in 2022

Sherry Smith breaks down retailers’ performance last year, including how natural diamonds fared vs. lab-grown.

GradingJan 24, 2023
GIA and AGS Launch Diamond Light Performance Supplement Report

The AGS Ideal Report by GIA is a digital-only addition to GIA diamond reports.

MajorsJan 24, 2023
WJA Announces New International Board Members

The seven newcomers include executives from David Yurman, De Beers, and GIA.

Policies & IssuesJan 23, 2023
Melanie Grant Named Executive Director of RJC

She has more than 20 years’ experience in watches and jewelry, and says sustainability is the “greatest single issue” facing the industry.

Policies & IssuesJan 23, 2023
AGTA Forms Committee to Standardize Industry ‘Sustainability’ Terms

Its focus are words like “sustainability,” “ethics,” and “responsible sourcing.”

IndependentsJan 23, 2023
10 Jewelry News Stories You Might Have Missed

Another “Designer to Watch” and Kim Kardashian’s auction purchase were among our most-read stories.

MajorsJan 20, 2023
Quality Gold Acquires Herco

Herco President Reuven Itelman is retiring and selling the company, which will relocate to Ohio from California.

Lab-GrownJan 20, 2023
Siobhán Duffy Promoted to Chief Executive of Element Six

She was previously the executive director of sales and marketing for the De Beers Group-owned company.

TrendsJan 20, 2023
Piece of the Week: Loquet London’s Lunar New Year Charm

It’s from a new collection of charms designed to go in the brand’s signature lockets.

IndependentsJan 20, 2023
Edge Retail Academy Announces Annual Award Winner

Lonnie Iannazzo of Vincent Anthony Jewelers is the 2022 William (Wag) Wagner Business Excellence Award recipient.

Lab-GrownJan 19, 2023
GIA Rolls Out Less Expensive Report for Lab-Grown Diamonds

The revised Laboratory-Grown Diamond Report-Dossier still includes the four Cs but doesn’t list growth method or post-growth treatments.

SurveysJan 19, 2023
Inflation, Rising Interest Rates Put a Damper on Holiday Sales

Holiday sales fell short of the National Retail Federation’s expectations, rising only 5 percent year-over-year.

AuctionsJan 19, 2023
Kim Kardashian Bought Princess Diana’s Amethyst Cross

The businesswoman and reality TV star paid nearly $200,000 for the “Attallah Cross.”

MajorsJan 19, 2023
Signet Names New Jared President as Executive Shuffle Continues

Luxury retail veteran Claudia Cividino has stepped into the role.


This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy