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Set in Stone: The History Behind the Phrase “Bling-Bling”

Bling. This word is used and understood ubiquitously in reference to jewelry, but why, and where did it come from? The history of the slang itself may not be well known, but it is certainly here to stay.

The Birth of “Bling”

The term “bling” was originally used in modern terms by Dana Dane in the rap song “Nightmare” in 1987. At the time, “bling” was simply an ideophone mimicking the sound of a bell, particularly as cartoons at the times relied on the sound of bells to depict light hitting gems, jewelry, and money on-screen. As hip hop itself continued to grow, so did the use of the word in reference to valuable metallic material.

Popularization of “Bling”

The word “bling” reportedly came to full popularization by 1999 as the term “bling-bling.” Cash Money Millionaires rapper B.G. wrote the title rap piece, “Bling Bling,” which featured Lil’ Wayne rapping the following lyrics:
“…Everytime I come around your city bling bling / Pinky ring worth about 50 bling bling / Everytime I buy a new ride bling bling / Lorenzos on Yokahama tires bling bling…”
The song held out for a time at #36 on the Billboard Top 100 and then continued to take root in the modern English vernacular.

Modern Day “Bling”

“Bling bling” was officially added to the Oxford Dictionary in 2003, and Merriam Webster dictionary officially adopted the term in 2006. In effect, the word went from mere hip hop slang to an immortalized term that immediately invokes the image of jeweled valuables in the minds of people all over the world.

“‘Bling bling’ will never be forgotten, so it’s like I will never be forgotten,” B.G. said in response to the popularization of the term. “I just wish that I’d trademarked it, so I’d never have to work again.”

In all, it’s not just about what shines—it’s about what makes you shine. If you’re looking for some “bling” of your own, Hemming Jewelers has got you covered. Contact us today to see what perfectly crafted and customized pieces are available to help you make your mark.