Ice Cold: Hip-Hop Jewelry Exhibition Shines at New York’s Natural History Museum

Hip-hop culture has long been synonymous with flashy, extravagant jewelry, and now, some of the most iconic pieces worn by hip-hop legends are set to be showcased in an unexpected venue – New York’s American Museum of Natural History (AMNH).

Scheduled to open on May 9th, the exhibition titled “Ice Cold: An Exhibition of Hip-Hop Jewelry” promises to be a dazzling display of bling and craftsmanship. Among the highlights are the gem-encrusted crown worn by Slick Rick, the legendary gold “Jesus piece” of the Notorious B.I.G., and Nicki Minaj’s sparkling “Barbie” pendant.

Guest curator Vikki Tobak emphasizes the significance of jewelry in hip-hop culture, noting its evolution alongside the rise of the genre itself. “From being a culture formed in communities and neighborhoods, and then stepping into its power and starting to impact global pop culture, hip-hop and its jewelry tell a bigger story,” Tobak said.


The exhibition, housed in the AMNH’s Melissa and Keith Meister Gallery within the new Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals, is a departure from the museum’s traditional focus on natural history. Known for its extensive displays on science and nature, including dinosaur skeletons and life-size animal exhibits, the AMNH is venturing into new territory with this showcase of hip-hop’s cultural impact.

The museum’s decision to host such an exhibition underscores the significance of hip-hop as a cultural force, especially in its birthplace of New York City. Last year marked the genre’s 50th anniversary, highlighting its enduring influence on music, fashion, and art worldwide.

Admission to the exhibition is included with general museum admission, ranging from $16 to $28 for visitors. With hip-hop jewelry taking center stage in one of New York’s most iconic cultural institutions, “Ice Cold” promises to be a must-see event for fans of both hip-hop and jewelry alike.