Even though 5-kilo Cuban link chains might only be appropriate for the likes of notorious rappers and well known Reggaeton stars, the reality is that these popular and versatile necklaces can also be fashionable and elegant when worn in moderation!
If you’re looking to buy a Cuban link chain or bracelet, this section will provide our tips and recommendations to help you find the perfect chain based on your taste and preferences. This information is based on years of experience helping customers with their own chains and also personally wearing them.
Intro Video on Miami Cuban Links
Before ordering any Cuban link jewelry from us, we recommend that you watch our YouTube video about the Miami Cuban Link (see video below). On the video, Watch Your Style host Eric Rivera discusses the requirements to make a quality Cuban chain and provides valuable advice to help you become a smart shopper.
History of Cuban Link Chains
Cuban link Chains (also known as Miami Cuban links) are an evolution of the hip-hop jewelry movement that began in the late 70’s to mid-80’s. In fact, many still consider Cuban link necklaces as a component of hip-hop fashion. Nevertheless, their classic, sleek design is no way limited to the likes of Jay-Z and Daddy Yankee!
The reality is that the exact origin of the Cuban link is difficult to pinpoint, despite claims by various hip-pop celebrities that they played a pivotal role in making Cuban link chains popular. One thing we do know is that interest in Cuban links accelerated after 2012 and has been rising steadily ever since. How do we know? We asked Google! By typing “cuban link chain” in Google Trends, we obtained the graph below, which shows monthly worldwide searches for the phrase from 2005 until May 2016 [blue] versus the market price of gold [orange].
From 2005 to 2012, the graph shows that Google searches for “cuban link chain” were relatively flat. Towards the end of 2012, however, interest began taking off. Demand during this period could have been precipitated by the increased attention these chains experienced due to high-profile, hip-hop celebrities. One example was the debut of pieces like Jay-Z’s 30-inch long, 5-kilo [11 pound] chain on February 2013. During that same year, DJ Khaled also claimed that he played a pivotal role in making longer versions of Cuban link necklaces popular sparking a “kilo war” (watch the video embedded in this article, where Khaled makes reference to his 2-kilogram necklace).
Towards the end of 2015, the blue graph peaked, indicating an all time high search interest for Cuban link chains. This meteoric rise in Google searches for Cuban link jewelry is even more startling when you consider the fact that the price of gold, since reaching a peak on August 2011 (near $1900 an ounce), has been steadily declining [see orange graph]. The price of the precious metal actually hit a five-year low of around $1060 an ounce on December 2015. As of May 2016, gold is near $1300 an ounce. I guess you can say that, relatively speaking, Cuban link jewelry is now on sale and smart shoppers are still buying!
Investing in Cuban Link Chains
We have already written about the investment merit of luxury watches (link to blog post), but is Cuban link jewelry also a good investment?
As noted in the previous section, it is possible for current global interest in Cuban link chains to continue to rise [see 2015-2016 period on the chart] even as gold falters. However, that doesn’t mean that the owners of gold Cubans made any money.
We need to go back farther than 2015 to analyze a more important fact relating to the investment merits of Cuban link chains.
In 2005, the spot price of gold was hovering around $400 a troy ounce. From that point, the metal then rose steadily for another 7-8 years, increasing nearly 350% in price. This mean that if you would have bought a Cuban link chain at the beginning of 2005, it could have been worth over four times what you paid for it seven years later!
But some investment purists might argue, “There are obviously better ways to invest in gold than to buy Cuban links!” Even though their argument is sound, let’s not forget one important thing…
When you buy a Cuban link chain, you are doing it primarily because you like it; not because you are trying to bet on the appreciation of gold (the same is true when you purchase a luxury watch). The fact that Cuban links can retain their value or even go up in price because of the market behavior of gold is a BIG benefit, but only a secondary one. Even though this secondary benefit can obviously give the buyer of a Cuban link chain a greater sense of security, it should still take a backseat to a buyer’s affinity for gold jewelry.
Quality – The Key to Cuban Links
Many jewelers make [or at least attempt to make] these thick chains with strong, tightly-spaced links, but few succeed in creating very high quality pieces that are worthy of the limelight. We’ve actually had customers show up at our store wearing Cuban link chains of such low quality that their best solution was simply melt them down!
Without impeccable craftsmanship, attention to detail and finish, a Cuban link chain might be better off remaining in incubation as a 24K gold bar.
For the best looking Cuban link, we recommend going with a tighter, flat-link design (also known as a Miami Cuban link), 14K-quality gold or better (not skimming on the price by going with a 10K chain that’s only about 40% pure gold like many jewelers do), and a high quality clasp.
The picture above shows some common thicknesses for Miami Cuban Link chains, as well as the two most common color configurations. The two chains on the left are made of yellow gold and are 8mm and 14mm wide respectively. Rose gold Cuban links are also popular. You can see two examples of rose gold (also known as pink or red gold) links on the right of the picture (the 8mm and 10mm-wide chains).
When you’re in the market to buy a Cuban link chain, please give us a call. We’ll give you our recommended width, length, color for your chain based on your preferences and objectives.