The sides of the Golden State Warriors' 2018 championship ring have a bristly texture, as though they were swept with a steel broom. The top is a perfect circle to match the footprint of Oracle Arena, the Warriors' loyal home and one they’ll leave after this season.
The face of the ring is reversible — diamonds on one side and sapphires on other — which is innovative and technically challenging enough for a championship ring. But it also has 74 of those diamonds and 74 of those sapphires, one for each victory on the road to Golden State’s most recent NBA title.
Those rings descended on wires from ceiling to floor for the award ceremony Tuesday night, a sight so over-the-top even members of the team — whose 2017 championship ring had more diamonds than any other title ring in the history of American sport — stood slack-jawed.
The world of bespoke jewelry has no rules, said designer Jason Arasheben, better known as Jason of Beverly Hills. He designed these as well as four more of the past nine NBA championship rings. Seven Warriors are among his clients, which also include Madonna, Rihanna, Justin Bieber and Jason Derulo. Drake commissioned a 100-karat owl pendant larger than Arasheben’s hand and made entirely of gold and diamonds.
So when it comes to making championship rings, and especially when this guy makes championship rings, every design element, every trick of the trade, every little piece of symbolism is on the table.
“When I’m designing pieces,” Arasheben said, “I really try to always say to myself, ‘What am I trying to say? What am I trying to communicate with this particular piece?’”
In this case, unfathomable wealth might be the first thing, which is appropriate for Golden State given its “Death Lineup” of Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala.
The weight of the occasion, Arasheben said, comes next. The Warriors didn’t just sweep LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. They did it to win back-to-back titles. They’re only the 13th team ever to complete such a feat.
But perhaps more than anything, the Warriors' creativity and flair is on display in the ring, he said. Golden State beat teams with its well-balanced scoring attack and dizzying ball movement. And at every angle, their championship jewelry reflects that attitude with hidden nuances, even inside the ring.
Screw off the top, and carved into the gold is the team’s slogan, “Strength in Numbers.”
“People will judge a ring by how many diamonds it has and how heavy it is or the glamour effect,” Arasheben said. “But what makes this ring special is how it was assembled and the ingenuity and the know how and the expertise of our guys on how to create a system that allows people to change a ring without it being cheap or falling apart.”
Most rings Arasheben designs are four or five pieces covered with jewels and precious metals. Golden State’s rings are closer to 20 pieces, including ball bearings and that entirely removable diamond- and sapphire-crusted face.
He solicited design advice from everyone in the Warriors franchise, though most of it came from players who texted ideas well into the offseason. He already had an idea of the team’s general taste after designing the 2017 ring and making pieces for some of Golden State’s stars.
“I know these guys,” he said. “I know these guys when they’re off the court. I’ve been out with Kevin Durant off the court. I’ve hung out with Draymond Green on and off the court. I know what kind of personality these guys have, so I try to design something that appeals to them.”
It’s a long way from Arasheben’s inauspicious start as a jeweler. Deep in credit card debt as an undergraduate at UCLA, he took his last $400 from the bank and bought dozens of hair clips and trinkets for necklaces and bracelets then set up a table and sold them to girls on campus.
The business took off. By his senior year, he had similar operations set up at six Southern California universities. After graduation, he tried high-end jewelry design, elbowing his way into night clubs and charity events to pester celebrities into looking at his designs.
New York Knicks forward Anthony Mason was his first big-time client. He paid Arasheben $40,000 for a bracelet then referred him to teammates and friends around the league.
“There’s basketball players that I would approach, and I wanted to do business with, like, Dwyane Wade, and they said, ‘No, no, no,’ and then eventually gave me a chance,” Arasheben said. He designed the ring Wade used when he proposed to Gabrielle Union.
Soon Hollywood stars noticed, too. Arasheben for years begged Jessica Alba to let him design a piece for a red carpet appearance, but she consistently turned him down. He eventually designed her engagement ring.
Tuesday night, the Warriors took the floor in white warm-up jackets with “The Champions” printed in gold script on the back. The public address announcer rattled off statistical accomplishments pointing to unheard of dominance in NBA history.
Arasheben sat courtside to watch it all. The message was clear: The Warriors were the best, and so are their new rings.
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