Jacob Arabo (born Yakov Arabov, 1964) is an Uzbek-born American jeweler and founder of Jacob & Company. He is widely known as "Jacob the Jeweler" or "King of Bling".
Arabo was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. As a youngster he had an interest in his family's jewelry and time pieces. At age 16, he discontinued his formal education before completing high school and enrolled in a six-month jewelry-making course, which he graduated four months later. By the time he was 17 years old he was designing his own pieces in his own jewelry factory near New York City's diamond district.
Initially selling his pieces from a kiosk in the Kaplan Jewelry Exchange (in the heart of New York City's Diamond District), by the age of 21, Arabo had officially started his own company, called Diamond Quasar, and began designing his own Jacob & Co. branded jewelry.
Although he started out offering moderately priced, traditional jewelry, Arabo's design sense soon caught the eyes of celebrities, singers, and artists in the hip-hop and rap music world. In the early 1990s his clientele and business grew, and Arabo became known as "Jacob the Jeweler," the moniker first appearing in rap songs by Jay-Z, Nas and other rappers.
In 2005 he relocated to a "mine-inspired" storefront on East 57th Street. The townhouse space is adorned with Arabo's signature five-time-zone watches.
In June 2006, Arabo was arrested on charges of money laundering and conspiracy in connection with the Detroit-based Black Mafia Family, as well as for not declaring large cash purchases to the IRS. In October 2007, after admitting to lying to investigators, Arabo and his attorney, Ben Brafman, entered a plea in which the more serious charges of money-laundering were dropped. In June 2008, Arabo was sentenced to two and a half years in prison, fined $50,000, and ordered to forfeit $2 million to the U.S. government. Arabo was released from jail in April 2010.
Jacob & Co.'s watch, "The World is Yours", was a 2006 Travel + Leisure Design Award winner.
In popular culture
Arabo was featured in the 2004 video game Def Jam: Fight For NY, in which the players' hip-hop characters compete to earn cash with which they can buy jewelry from Jacob the Jeweler.
He is also well known in the entertainment industry for his unique jewelry designs and is mentioned in several hip-hop songs as "Jacob the Jeweler" or just "Jacob"
I went to Jacob an hour after I got my advance / I just wanted to shine.— Kanye West, Touch the Sky
I took you outta Jacob's in clusters / Busters, they wanted to rush us / Love the way you sparkle when the sun touch ya.— Jay-Z, Girl's Best Friend
Take her to the diamond district, introduce her to Jacob / Tell her if she like me she should keep me icey.— 50 Cent, Get in My Car
Jacob the Jeweler, baubles, Lorraine Schwartz, oughta do / It's big balling baby, when I'm courting you.— Beyoncé ft. Jay-Z, Upgrade U
Big was the first one that had it / Now Jacob the Jeweler benefit from my habits.— Big Sean, First Chain
And we 'bout to hit Jacob the Jeweler / So I can be like Slick Rick, and rule ya / Dr. Martin Louis the King, Junior.— Rick Ross, Live Fast, Die Young
100 bottles of Crys in the cooler / I'm frozen thanks to Jacob the jeweler.— R. Kelly, Thoia Thoing
In 2020, Arabo made a cameo appearance in Drake's "When To Say When & Chicago Freestyle" music video.
Arabo married his wife, Angela — who is also Bukharian Jewish — when he was 24. The couple lives in Forest Hills, Queens, in a brick Colonial house they bought for $1.17 million in 1999.