S U C K

"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 30 September 1999. Updated every WEEKDAY.
 
 
 
 
 
Hit & Run CXCVII

 

[]

This week's surge in the price

of gold has us scraping away at

our own fillings and false

teeth. While we scramble to

hoard up treasure, we got the

411 on precious metals from

Chris "Iceman" Aire, the hip-hop

jeweler to the stars. Aire's

company 2 Awesome specializes in

fashioning microphone, hoop, and

football themes — along with

any other ideas a client might

dream up — into "the most

awesome platinum and gold

jewelry on the planet." He spoke

with us from his office in Los

Angeles.



Now that gold is at
US$308.10 an ounce, should
we be stocking up on
medallions or pinkie rings
or something?


Gold isn't really my
favorite substance. I like
platinum best for making
my jewelry.

How did you get into this
business?


It happened by a fluke. I
was a musician, and we
needed to make money while
we were on the road. I had
a friend whose father
owned a jewelry company.
And I loved jewelry —
I loved making them, and I
always designed my own. So
we worked out a deal where
I would give them help on
the legal end in exchange
for giving me a few
pointers.

Are you a lawyer?

Not at all. When I was in
college I worked for a
company that dealt in
commercial papers, and
worked pretty strongly
with the uniform
commercial code. So we
worked out a trade because
I had some legal knowledge
and they wouldn't have to
pay legal fees. That
started in 1990.

When did you start making
your own jewelry?


Around the same time.

Where did you get your
skills?


All on the job.

Who buys your stuff?

We sell to athletes,
musicians, people in the
motion picture industry,
comedians.

Name some famous people.

We sell to Master P. We
just redesigned all the
pendants for Cash Money
Records, so we worked with
Baby [Williams] and Slim
[Williams], the Hot Boys
and all them guys. A lot
of football players, a lot
of basketball players,
everybody from Juwan
Howard — Juwan
Howard's actually one of
our spokespeople right now
— to Shawn Kemp, Gary
Payton, Damon Stoudamire,
Michael Finley, Maurice
Taylor, Eddie Jones, Derek
Anderson. We've done work
for Steve Harvey; we just
did a movie that Oliver
Stone directed [Any Given
Sunday
], starring L. L.
Cool J., Bill Bellamy,
Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz,
Al Pacino. We did the
jewelry for that movie....
Could you hang on one
second?...

[Pause]

That was Damon Stoudamire
on the other line.

Where do you get most of
your jewelry materials?


We get our diamonds from
Africa.

From De Beers?

No, not from De Beers.

That's good. Avoid the
evil empire, right?


Ha ha! I don't really
know, but we're not
getting diamonds from
them.

What's your price range?

We go anywhere from $75 up
to a million.

What can I get for a
million?


It would probably be a
platinum bracelet, with
the finest type of
diamonds, stuff like that.

What kind of design would
you get?


It depends on the
individual. We can go
several different ways. If
you want top-quality
craftsmanship, you'll
probably go up there, but
we have bracelets in the
$499 area and all the way
up. Everything is in
demand but at a higher
range, and not a lot of
people can afford that.
And those who can probably
wouldn't want to talk
about it.

What can I get for 75
bucks?


You can get a gold earring
with diamonds on it. It
could be white gold or
yellow gold.

Which do you recommend?

Personally, I love
platinum. I think once you
start wearing platinum and
get a feel for it you'll
agree. It's the most
beautiful metal.

I wouldn't even know
platinum if I fell over
it.


You probably see it
around. But because it's
not in your consciousness
you don't notice it.

I've got a 1985 Honda
Accord, and it's a tight
ride. You think there
might be some platinum in
the car? Maybe in the dash
or the hubcaps?


Platinum in your car, let
me think about that....
No, I don't think so.
Platinum is not like
silver, but it's similar
in color. But platinum is
not as metallic looking;
it's deeper and a pure
white.

You ever get people coming
in to rent jewelry for a
party or an awards show or
something like that?


We don't rent. Not at all.

Not even for the movie?

No. I was reading an
article in The Source
where somebody said a lot
of rappers come into his
store to rent. There's
never been one rapper that
came into our store to
rent. We sell to a lot of
rappers and they own their
jewelry. So I don't know
what kind of rappers go to
him, but the people we
know buy their jewelry.

Who was the guy in The
Source?


I don't know. He didn't
give his name.

You do any costume
jewelry?


No. We get requests
sometimes, but we just
tell people we don't do
it.

What's the most
interesting custom work
you've done?


That's relative, man.
What's interesting to one
person may not be so
interesting to somebody
else.

How about the weirdest?

I wouldn't even go there.
What's strange to you may
be normal to someone else.
The difference is in
taste. You might think a
small diamond is the most
beautiful thing; I might
think a huge stone is the
most beautiful thing.
Neither one of us is
necessarily right; it's
just preference.

What's your own
preference?


I like quality. The number
of karats doesn't mean as
much as the quality of the
karats. To me it's the
quality of the piece.

Well, leaving aside
"interesting" or
"weird"... if we say a
plain gold earring is at
one end of a scale of
usualness, what's at the
other end?


You know what entertainers
like. That's what I like
about them. They're not
mundane. That's why I like
my job, because we don't
have to do the same things
twice. Most of the guys
who buy don't want them to
look like anything else,
so we brainstorm with
them.

Any piece you're
particularly proud of?


I'm proud of all of them.
That's like asking a
parent which child is
their favorite.

But every parent secretly
has a favorite child.


But you can't tell them
that.

Have you had anybody come
in with a gold record and
ask you to melt it down to
make, like, a prince
albert or something?


Well, a gold record isn't
really made of gold. I
don't know, they look
yellow, but I don't think
they're made of gold. They
might be gold-plated.

What about a platinum
record?


I'd imagine they're
platinum-plated, and
that's a lot of money to
spread on a record.

How many months' salary
should I spend on an
engagement ring?


De Beers says you should
spend two months, so ... I
would ask you to spend
five months — that's
more money in my pocket,
right? I'm just joking.
Depending on the woman,
and depending on the
relationship, it's purely
a personal decision.

Yeah, I wish De Beers
would leave it as a personal
decision, those evil
psychos. They make
everybody feel like
cheapskates.


Well I don't know about
them. But I really enjoy
what I'm doing.

 

[]

The explosion of offline

advertising has created some

unforeseen placing possibilities

for the Web's small fries. Most

recently, radio listeners have

been unable to escape a spot for

Paytrust.com, in which a

weary-sounding George Sanders

type recites a list of

supposedly time-wasting dot coms

(the idea being something about

how Paytrust is the one Web site

that won't waste your time).

Sadly, though, the company has

not managed to monopolize all

those tantalizing URLs. While

alligatorsinthesewer.com,

headbangersanonymous.com,

mytriptosacramento.com,

knittedshawls.com,

deathtodisco.com, and

collectiblebeercans.com all

redirect the unwary browser to

Paytrust, the International Mud

Wrestling League has benefited

from free airplay for

mudwrestling.com. Ian Joblonsky,

owner of the kielbasa.com

domain, has neglected to take

advantage of the publicity, and

similar disappointing No-DNSs

greeted us when we visited

silkstockings.com (owned by

Bellevue, Washington's

Synchronicity Inc.) and

plywood.com (CES Marketing of

Vancouver). When we contacted

Brenda Roling

(brendasboudoir.com), she

informed us that she had

actually scooped up the domain

name after hearing the Paytrust

ad. Like many a self-publisher

before her, Brenda is planning

to get a site up there any day

now, and says she has not ruled

out a webcam. A more salty

response came from Ken

Firestone, owner of rhubarb.com.

Was he planning to take

advantage of all those idle hits

generated by Marconi's infernal

machine? "I don't know that I'll

ever put anything up there, so

you people can have all the fun

you want typing in the name."

Why did he register the domain?

"Because I wanted to. There's a

hell of a lot more to the

Internet than just Web sites,

but then people like you don't

know that because you didn't

know the Internet existed more

than two years ago." While his

rebuke stung, finding somebody

who still brags about his Net

cred was as exciting as

discovering the proverbial

Japanese soldier who didn't know

the war was over. Probably the

only clear winner in Paytrust's

publicity giveaway is

removeunwantedhair.com, where

"Tiffanys and Angelicas Web

Site!" offers "Massive Shemale,

Celeb, Bondage, Fetish, and much

much more."

 

[]

We like to buy when there's

blood in the streets, and few

streets are bloodier right now

than Salon.com's unfairly

maligned corner of Skid Row.

With its stock now regularly

dipping below four, and disputes

raging about just how much it has in

the bank, Salon has come in for

some hard-core gloating and nasty

told-ya-sos. Call us

foul-weather friends, but while

all these naysayers and young

Republicans gang up on the

stock, while Matt Drudge and

Michael Kinsley do tag-team

Salon bashing on CSPAN (possibly

the only media entity enjoyed by

fewer Americans than Salon

itself), and while the

congenitally conflicted James J.

Cramer forecasts doom for any

content play that doesn't charge

for subscriptions, we can only

offer an unironic buy

recommendation. If print

dinosaurs like Spin and most of

the Condé Nast arsenal

can be routinely bought and sold

for eight- and nine-figure sums,

there must be some value locked

up there somewhere. In fact,

considerably more. We continue

to predict a dark future for

long articles with lots of words

and a bright one for sex

columnists.

 

[]

On that note, we'd like to send

a shout out to SurfWatch for

blocking Suck's "sexually

explicit" content. When you

can't even say the word

"pee-pee" without giggling, it

can only be a compliment to be

mistaken for red-light-district

studs. Sadly, anybody who uses

SurfWatch's proprietary

content-blocking technology the

way it's supposed to be used

— to find all the good porn

— will be sadly

disappointed. In addition to

redlining bland districts like

our own, SurfWatch neglects to

blacklist the considerably more

potty-mouthed Salon, or even

such overt efforts at one-handed

entertainment as

removeunwantedhair.com.

Meanwhile, we accept the honor

and will do our best to talk

dirty. Um ... "We'd like to pull

down our knickers and do

something untoward with some

naughty young lass"...? We'll

work on our delivery.

 
courtesy of theSucksters
 
 
 



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