Johnny Dang

As the founder of Johnny Dang and Co, Johnny’s an icon in the American hip-hop scene thanks to his custom jewelry and bedazzled grills. The Vietnamese-American jeweler was born in Dak Lak, Vietnam, on 21st November 1974, but is now based in Houston, Texas.

Johnny’s grandfather and father both worked in the jewelry trade, so it was probably only a matter of time before Johnny followed in their footsteps. In 1987, his father emigrated to the US, with his family joining him nine years later. At the time, Johnny was in his early 20s and soon found a job repairing jewelry at a local flea market in Houston, where he earned about $100 a month; he also began learning English, and enrolled into Houston Community College.

Although Johnny had already learned how jewelry was made while in Vietnam so as to help his father with the family business, he experienced a major culture shock upon coming to the US due to the country’s different styles and technologies. Most fine jewelry in Vietnam is handcrafted, with jewelers setting stones manually; however, jewelry production in the US is a software-driven and automated process. Adapting to his new environment, Johnny taught himself how to use the necessary tools: in fact, the jeweler still makes sure to stay up to date with the latest technologies.

In 1998, the Vietnamese native opened TV Jewelry in Sharpstown Mall. He realized that there was a huge demand for bejeweled grills – dental jewelry worn over teeth which can cost up to thousands of dollars – thanks to rappers such as Flavor Flav, Ludacris, and others. In a later interview with NBC News, Johnny said: “I never knew about hip-hop until I went to Houston… All I knew was there was a big opportunity here.”

One of his first celebrity clients was the rapper Paul Wall, whom he went into business with in 2002. Paul was so impressed by Johnny’s ability to make grills that didn’t require the wearer to file their teeth down that he helped the jeweler promote his business, making connections in the entertainment industry.

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In a 2021 interview, Johnny claimed that his unique ideas for grill styles helped catapult their popularity, as they became much more common in hip-hop culture two years after he and Paul began working together. However, this isn’t strictly true: Eddie Plein of Eddie Plein’s Gold Teeth kick-started the trend in New York during the 1980s, which then trickled over to Atlanta, Georgia and other states. Despite falling from popularity in the early 2000s, grills remained stylish in the Southern states thanks to rappers such as Nelly and Lil Wayne, and the 2005 number-one single “Grillz” definitely played a part in their nationwide revival.

With that said, Johnny’s use of different-colored diamonds, one-of-a-kind embellishments, and other previously unseen additions set his jewelry apart from the rest. Thanks to word of mouth and a roster of high-profile clients whom he met through Paul, Johnny was soon deluged with work.

Now in 2016, the self-described King of Bling moved his business from Sharpstown Mall to a stand-alone location in Richmond Ave. To date, his celebrity clients include Chief Keef, Migos, Gucci Mane, and Kanye West; he’s appeared in numerous music videos, and even provided vocals for Paul’s 2010 album, “Heart of a Champion”.

Although Johnny is known for his grills, he has a whole host of best-selling products such as custom pendants, beautiful Cuban chains, and intricate bracelets. When it comes to hip-hop jewelers, he’s considered amongst the best – and has even landed a coveted spot in the Guinness World Records thanks to his custom-made 24k golden egg weighing five kilograms.

In 2021, Johnny hopped on the crypto-currency train with the Vietnamese YouTuber Khoa Pug. Their mutually held crypto-currency, Diamond Boyz Coin (DBZ), was launched at the end of June and held a record value of $0.15 in late September. However, the currency’s value began steadily dropping from the beginning of October, reaching a record low of $0.0176 at the end of November.

Despite Khoa Pug heavily promoting the crypto-currency, which led to its occasional price fluctuations, Johnny broke off his business relationship with the YouTuber at the end of 2021. At first, the jeweler had high hopes for the crypto-currency, promising fans that he would collaborate with famous rappers to issue encrypted music tickets which could be paid for in DBZ; unfortunately, his dreams failed to materialize, and his friendship with Khoa Pug soured to the point of news outlets claiming that they were feuding.

Although we can’t confirm how things are between Johnny and Khoa Pug right now, the YouTuber scrubbed all traces of Johnny from his channel and hinted that the jeweler had tried to scam him out of $1.3 million. The duo’s online quarrel was heavily reported on in Vietnam, but went by unnoticed in the US.

Lifestyle & Net Worth

Despite enjoying a lavish lifestyle and being worth approximately $15 million, Johnny prefers not to flaunt his wealth online. Instead, he mostly uses his social media to promote his business, with one of his pinned posts on Instagram being a TMZ article about the $1 million custom chain Floyd Mayweather bought from the jeweler in February 2023.

Due to the nature of his work, Johnny’s Instagram feed is full of famous faces, such as the gymnast Simone Biles, rapper NLE Choppa, and controversial basketball player Ja Morant. He also posts occasional photos of himself in private jets, front row at sports games, and at A-list events.

One thing that Johnny does like to keep under wraps is his personal life. Surprising as it may seem, the famous jeweler has been a happily married father of two for years – and although we can’t confirm how long he’s been married to wife Jennifer Dang, we do know that their children, Jacy and Johnny Jr., were born in September 2006 and April 2007 respectively.

Shortly after his crypto-currency launched, Johnny also promised that he would be working on the release of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). However, there’s been no news on that end, so we can safely assume that the King of Bling is sticking to what he knows best: jewelry.

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