Last week, Lil Uzi Vert went viral after he took to Instagram to reveal a years-long project of his: a $24 million pink diamond that he had implanted onto his forehead. According to the rapper, he’s spent the past several years paying off the expensive diamond in order to complete the feat of body modification. While outlandish jewelry is endemic to rap culture — who can forget Gucci Mane’s iconic iced-out Bart Simpson? — Uzi appears to have taken things to a new level. He even tweeted as much. “If it’s accepted from the jump it’s not ICONIC,” he said in response to a wave of online critics and jokesters.
The stone comes courtesy of the New York-based jewelers Eliantte & Co, who specialize in custom pieces worn by celebrities. Simon Babaev, speaking on behalf of the company’s owner, Eliott Eliantte, spoke with RS to explain how this piece went from Uzi’s imagination to the front of his noggin.
When did Uzi approach you about the diamond?
Everything started back in 2017. Once he saw the stone, he really fell in love with it and said he’d think about what he wanted to do with it.
What was your initial reaction to the idea to put it on his forehead?
We didn’t think he was serious about it, but as he started making payments on the specific stone, he made it clear that he was very serious.
Has anyone asked you to implant a diamond onto their head before?
In the forehead? No, that’s a bit extreme. But just on the face, we’ve done. In 2016, Young Thug had a diamond implanted on his face. He had a pear shape, like a teardrop, I believe. He had it on his face for a while, but then I think he lost it.
Is there a difference between doing something like this on your face versus the forehead?
It’s just an application difference, really.
Is it safe?
Yeah, it’s as safe as any other piercing. As long as you maintain it well and have good upkeep, it’s perfectly fine. We made sure that prior to getting anything done that Uzi brought someone in to consult on everything. We didn’t just do this randomly.
How do you make sure it doesn’t fall out?
In the body modification world, they usually do everything in stainless steel, or surgical-grade steel. But in our case we did everything with precious metals. We engineered a specific mounting that clips and locks in place. There’s a whole mechanism involved, it’s not a standard piercing. A specific piece and part were both engineered with millimeter precision to get this put on him.
You guys work with a lot of celebrities. Is this the most extravagant request you’ve seen?
Yeah, this was definitely pretty extravagant. This would definitely be top-tier by far. People have gotten crazy custom pieces done, but something that’s done as a body modification, to have something popped onto your forehead? This is definitely the first time.
Do you think this will inspire a trend?
People always want something that no one else has. And especially because we specialize in custom fabrication, we’ll make a link for somebody and it’ll become so popular that other people will request it, or they’ll try to customize it to make it their own. Uzi himself is a trendsetter, so I wouldn’t be surprised if people out there requested this. It’s crazy. Uzi is definitely a trendsetter.