Diamond Grills: History of the Obsession, Celebrities Who Wear Them, More

Diamond Grills: History of the Obsession, Celebrities Who Wear Them, More
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There’s been a longstanding fascination in the entertainment industry with grills (or grillz, which is also a popular spelling). While the most common variety tend to be of gold, many stars have been seen wearing grills decked out in diamonds over their teeth. In honor of #DiamondMonth, we decided to break down the obsession, explore the history of grills, as well as share some of memorable stars who have thousands of dollars of diamonds in their teeth.
The History: You may think grills are a new development, but the concept has actually been around for centuries. The ancient Mayans practiced dental mutilation, which involved drilling jade stones into their teeth to signify wealth and status. In the 1980s, grills became popular in New York thanks to rappers including Flavor Flav and Big Daddy Kane who wore gold fronts over their teeth designed by Eddie Plein, a jewelry designer who still creates grills for rappers today. The basis of a grill is simple: It’s a metal (silver, platinum, or most popularly gold) which can be decorated with stones like diamonds. In the late 1990s, grills became a pop culture phenomenon thanks to Juvenile, Nelly, Kanye West, and most importantly, Paul Wall.
Paul Wall’s Contributions to Grills: Houston born rapper Paul Wall appeared alongside Nelly on the platinum hit “Grillz” in 2007. Although a relatively successful rapper beforehand, this was his big break, and everyone began to notice the diamonds in his mouth. His grills, some of which are estimated to cost around $30,000 are by far the most notable in the hip-hop community–and he’s turned that recognition into a full on business. His company Grills by Paul Wall designs specialty grills for a slew of high profile clients including Kanye West.
Cost of Grills: Considering that grills are custom made to fit a specific set of teeth, how much they costs varies wildly. A simple grill made from less precious gold can start out around $150, but it can reach around $100,000 if there’s a large amount of diamonds or other stones.
The Process: Here’s how it works. First, you have to get a mold kit of your teeth made, and then the designer formulates the grill based on your desired design. A grill surprisingly only takes around three or four days to complete, but a custom grill takes about two weeks. Some grills are made to be permanent, but the majority are detachable.
For a look at some of the most memorable celebrity grills, click through the slideshow above!

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When Ryan Lochte won a gold medal during the 2012 Olympics, he flashed an American flag grill complete with stars and stripes shaped diamonds, which was commissioned by Paul Wall and Johnny Dang. The grill set him back a reported $25,000

James Franco's character Alien in the hit film "Spring Breakers" wears a diamond grill.

Photo: /http://pdocknows.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/new-red-band-trailer-for-spring-breakers-starring-james-franco/

Chris Brown may be more known for his romantic drama, but the singer also has a thing for grills. In 2012, he wore a gold grill to his "Dum English" art exhibit, which covered a random assortment of his teeth. He was also seen wearing a full-gold grill during a night out in Hollywood in April 2012.

Lil' Wayne is one of the biggest grill advocates, and is rarely seen without one.

Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Clear Channel

In 2010, Kanye West debuted a diamond grill on "The Ellen Degeneres Show" for his first TV interview since his on-stage run-in with Taylor Swift at the VMAs. He joked, "I just thought diamonds were cooler. It's really my real teeth. I replaced my bottom row of teeth."

Photo: The Ellen Degeneres Show/

In Brooke Hogan's music video for "About Us" back in 2006, she wears a diamond grill that Paul Wall gifted her. Her grill even landed her a surfboard at the Teen Choice Award for "Best Grill," beating musicians like Flavor Flav and Kelis. 

Photo: Real Think Tank/http://www.realthinktank.com/2010/03/best-and-worst-hip-hop-teeth-grills.html

Flavor Flav's grill is definitely one of his trademarks, along with the enormous clocks he wears as necklaces. He is considered a pioneer of the grill trend.

Photo: Rob Kim/Getty Images

In March 2010, Lady Gaga tweeted about her new grills, saying "Russian Rose Gold Vampire Grillz. Early birthday present from the haus, gravediggaz! I've been begging for these."

Photo: Twitter/http://twitpic.com/19z2px

T-Pain wore a gold and yellow diamond grill that are worth around $30,000. His teeth were apparently subsequently damaged during a golf cart accident in 2009.

Photo: Fashion Bomb Daily/http://fashionbombdaily.com/2010/02/10/black-history-fashion-trend-gold-teeth-and-grills/

During a campaign for Obama in 2012, Beyoncé wore a grill that was designed with fangs, and diamonds at the tips. 

Photo: Untitled Flow/http://www.untitledflow.com/2012/11/beyonce-keeps-supporting-president-obama-with-gol-grillz-on/

Lil Jon likes grills so much that he was featured in "Gangsta Grillz 9" alongside DJ Drama.

Photo: Real Think Tank/http://www.realthinktank.com/2010/03/best-and-worst-hip-hop-teeth-grills.html

Paul Wall can easily be considered the king of grills, as he not only wears a plethora of bling in his mouth, but also designs them for his label, Grillz by Paul.

Photo: CDN Rap-Up/http://cdn.rap-up.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/paul-wall-grammys-09.jpg

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