Jewelry Designer Alex Moss On Creating Drake's Crown Jewel Of Toronto: 'No One's Ever Gonna Top That'

The Toronto-born, New York-based designer had one task from the 6 God: "Do something crazy for Toronto."

Alex Moss

When Drake’s new chain, dubbed “The Crown Jewel of Toronto,” made its first appearance on social media, it left people speechless.

It’s a massive, stunning piece with nods to early 2000s Toronto sports lore, all wrapped around a glistening CN Tower. You couldn’t get more Toronto, and you couldn’t get more flashy. It’s basically Drake’s essence distilled in a chain.

Jewelry designer Alex Moss was tasked with bringing Drake’s dream to life, but it didn’t require all that much digging into Toronto research—Moss is also from Toronto, and shares a similar affinity for that particular era of sports in the 6ix.

Moss was asked to do something crazy, and based on the reaction on social media, including Drake’s IG stories, he succeeded.

Complex Canada caught up with Moss, who now lives in New York, about making the most Toronto chain ever, what goes into making such a grand piece, and whether it’ll ever be topped.

You may have made the most Canadian chain I've ever seen in my life.
Yeah, I mean that was kind of the goal. I'm Canadian. So it was kind of a goal. And we did it. I grew up in Toronto, but I moved to the US in 2016. I got an offer from a top fashion design program in America, so that’s what made me come and move here.

So you didn’t have to dip into research.
The research was in my bones. It was actually pretty simple to be honest. I would say the Toronto aspect of it was simple, but the design was not simple.

Did working on the chain bring you back home?
Yeah, in a way I guess it did bring me back home. It was more like, for me it was such a grail, and for him, too. It was just so important to both of us that we wanted to make sure that it was crazy. Not even crazy in terms of the diamonds and gold, and how much it was. More in terms of the design aspect. That's always something that I have on my mind—it's always a design aspect. I’m never thinking, ‘oh my god, it's a 40 million dollar chain.’ I’m always asking, 'what looks good?'

What was the ask, and how did you go about designing it?
The ask was: we got to do something crazy for Toronto. How did he say it? He said something about having to do it crazy, and we gotta do something for Toronto. I said, ‘yeah, it’ll be fire. I’m down.’ The mindset was thinking we’re 12 years old, it’s 2003, and if we had a billion dollars at that point, what sick chain could we make for ourselves? So that was the moodboard, if you want to say, For my design process, most of the time I start by sketching something. That’s just to get something on paper, then at that point I’ll go digital and I’ll start perfecting the design. If they like the concept, then I’ll turn it into a 3D design.

How long is the design process from start to finish?
The design process is usually the longest part, especially if it's something that we were trying to make—like this fucking holy grail—it’s gotta be perfect. We went through so many designs, and the first concept was way different than what we came up with. Overall, I’d say it took about seven months, not to say I was drawing a new design every day, but that’s how to get to a finished design. On top of the seven, it took around a year total.

You’re paying homage to a certain era of Toronto sports.
In my opinion, if I'm doing a Toronto piece for myself, I'm using the 2000s era. That's like my classic logo. I like the Vince Carter jerseys. I'm not even a big baseball fan, but I like the Jays logo from that era. Same with the Leafs. I know there’s a classic Leafs logo, and then after that there's a more modern one, but I just like the 2000s era aesthetic for the Toronto sports teams. Obviously because I grew up there and Drake was on the same page, so we had the same brain wave when it came to that.

What’s been the reaction from your Canadian friends and family?
I'll be honest, my friends and family are so used to me doing crazy shit. When I first got into this, they thought it was crazy. Now, they know it’s my job so it’s not a surprise anymore. But it’s cool when the Toronto stuff goes on the news in Toronto, and my mom will tell me her friends saw my work on television. So that’s a little different, I’m not gonna lie. It’s cool to be on CP24 or Sportsnet. That’s the media I grew up on. I did also have high school friends come out of the woodwork.

"You can’t put a price in terms of the level of quality and craftsmanship—it’s unknown. It’s a piece of art."

So what’s it made out of?
It’s made out of 18-karat white gold, VVS diamonds, pure white. The blue and yellow diamonds are also VVS. We have the Burmese rubies for the Raptor, and we have emerald cut white diamonds for the windows. So there’s a lot of stuff going on.

What did you think when you saw him wear it in the "8am in Charlotte" video?
I was honestly surprised because I thought he said he was gonna wear it for something else after the video. I didn’t even see it when I first watched the video, I had to look closely. It was dope because it was the debut video for the album, so it was definitely cool. He did it justice.

View this video on YouTube

Drake's initial reaction?
He went insane. We both did. Honestly, everything we make, I’m like a big kid in a way. It’ll still feel like it’s my first piece sometimes. So we were the same in that sense when I dropped it off to him. 

Do you ever think you could top that?
No one's ever gonna top that. There's no way, there's no fucking way. 

Are you allowed to say how much it cost to make?
Let me ask you: Do you think you can get that same chain somewhere else? 

I feel like if I saw it in person, my eyes would melt.
It’s an artifact. Maybe you can put a number on the material, but there’s no price to making something that’s one of a kind, something that you can’t get anywhere. You can’t put a price in terms of the level of quality and craftsmanship—it’s unknown. It’s a piece of art.

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