Jacob Arabo - Biography
Jacob Arabo (a.k.a. "Jacob the Jeweler", born Yakov Arabov) is a Bukharian-American jeweler who is owner and founder of Jacob & Company. He is known for providing watches and other jewelry to hip hop artists, National Basketball Association players, and other celebrities like Sir Elton John, Bono, David Beckham and Rudy Giuliani.
Jacob Arabo, formerly Yakov Arabov , and his family emigrated from Uzbekistan at the age of 14, and came to live in the United States. As a youngster Arabo had an interest in his family’s jewelry and time pieces. At 16, he discontinued his formal education, and after showing some aptitude, he enrolled in a program that taught jewelry-making. Arabo quickly developed his natural talent and demonstrated superior skills, leading his instructor to encourage him to leave the course and begin his own career as a jewelry designer. By the time he was 17 years old, Arabo was designing his own pieces.
Originally a designer for numerous jewelry brands and clients, Jacob Arabo soon became known amongst celebrities (most notably in the music industry), for creating custom jeweled pieces.
Initially selling his pieces from a kiosk in the Kaplan Jewelry Exchange (in the heart of New York City’s jewelry district), by the age of 21, Arabo had officially started his own jewelry business. 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, as word about his workmanship spread, his clientele and business grew, and Arabo became known amongst aficionados as “Jacob the Jeweler”.
Arabo founded Jacob & Co. in New York City in 1981. Operating out of a "mine-inspired" storefront on East 57th Street, the townhouse space is replete with Jacob’s signature five-time-zone watches.
Arabo’s Jacob & Co. timepieces were among the lots selling at the highest prices at Antiquorum Geneva Auction in April of 2010. His Crystal Tourbillon was the top selling lot at $477,120 USD, and the firm’s titanium Napoleon Quadra was the third highest selling lot at $354,432 USD. In October, 2008 at the Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite auction held in Hong Kong, a spectacular Jacob & Co. cushion-shaped diamond ring was the item that sold at the highest price; $5.78 million. At the same auction, a yellow gold and diamond necklace and earring set from Jacob & Co. was the fourth highest priced item (selling at $960,624).
For over 25 years, Jacob & Co. has created revolutionary jewelry and timepieces for discerning men and women. The innovations apparent in these pieces draw from the finest traditions of design and craftsmanship, and are appreciated by connoisseurs of fine jewelry. The originality and vision achieved by Jacob & Co. has become an enduring international phenomenon.
Arabo’s Five Time Zone “The World is Yours” Timepiece was a 2006 Travel and Leisure Design Award Winner.
Who wears Jacob & Co.
Angela Bassett, Jimmy Fallon, Gisele Bundchen, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Enrique Iglesias, Justin Timberlake, Verne Troyer, Fred Durst, David & Victoria Beckham, Sir Elton John, Karl Lagerfeld, Carmen Kass, Naomi Campbell, Stefano Gabbana, Mýa, Busta Rhymes, Nelly, Wyclef Jean, Nas, Tyrese, 50 Cent, Sharon & Ozzy Osbourne, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Bono, Michael Jordan, Tyson Beckford, Britney Spears, Sharon Stone, Beyonce Knowles, Rudolf Giuliani, Lenny Kravitz, Jessica Simpson, John Mayer, T.K. Hong Kong.
Arabo was featured in the 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.
Jacob & Co. generously donated the Champion’s prize a diamond encrusted watch worth $10,400 for the Wall Street Warfighters’ Foundation Charity Poker Tournament. The event took place on the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City. The foundation helps disabled veterans find long-term employment in the financial services industry.
In June 2006, Arabo was arrested for being part of a money-laundering scheme instigated by 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.