How a Houston jeweler helped elevate Joe Burrow's genuine swagger
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is a rising NFL star with confidence and swagger as genuine as the diamonds around his neck.
Burrow’s style and fashion sense have become viral, adding to his newfound celebrity.
As Burrow prepares to lead the Bengals into Super Bowl 56 against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium Sunday, he knows his game outfit needs to meet the growing hype surrounding his look — especially if the Bengals win it all.
“I don’t really consciously think about it. I just wear stuff that I think I like. It’s not like I’m shopping and thinking, ‘Oh, everyone would love this,’” Burrow said. “I’ve always kind of not cared about what anybody thinks about what I wear and what I do. I just wear whatever I like.”
BIG GAME, BIG PROPS:56 incredible prop bets to wager on during Super Bowl 56
After the Bengals beat the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship, Burrow’s outfit — a black turtleneck styled with a lavish fur coat, pristine sunglasses and a gaudy customized pendant and chain – was the talk of the NFL.
Burrow’s JB9 pendant gleamed while changing colors in the light during his postgame press conference, where he was asked if the diamonds were real.
When Burrow responded, “I make too much money to have fake ones,” his jeweler Leo Frost could only think about Burrow’s meteoric rise.
“It’s cool to see how far he’s come in such a short amount of time and I’m just happy for him,” Frost, a young but renowned jeweler from Houston, told USA Today Sports+. “He’s such a genuine guy.This is a guy who just thinks it’s cool to wear the chain he wore. It’s obviously cool and you’d want to wear it. But it’s not like he’s trying to wear it to show everyone, ‘Hey, I’m the (expletive).’ He’s genuinely wearing it because he thinks it’s cool.”
Burrow’s pendant is a 14.94 carat piece with VVS diamonds, G-H color. It’s surrounded by 14-karat two-tone, yellow and white gold. And the chain itself is a 20-inch, 26-gram gold rope.
Frost estimates about 1,000-1,400 tiny diamonds are in the pendant.
But Frost won’t reveal how much it cost his client-turned-friend.
“Respectfully, for the client, I never give that out,” Frost said. “I can’t put a number on that. I’m sorry. But because Joe wore it, I’m sure it’s priceless.”
Frost, whose real name is Arsh Khusro, is 26 and dropped out of college to pursue his dream designing jewelry. At the time, he said his Indian parents thought he was crazy.
Now, he’s worked with many young stars in the NFL, NBA, international soccer and in the Hip Hop community.
And he has a company tagline: “It cost to Frost.”
“If you’ve seen them in the NFL, they’ve probably bought jewelry from me,” Frost said confidently.
Burrow was quite collaborative designing his JB9 pendant.
Frost said he sent Burrow five designs sketched on graph paper, and Burrow fell in love with the design he ultimately chose.
Burrow also liked the idea of having a Nike check on the bottom of the piece to promote his personal JB9 brand.
Originally, Frost wanted the diamonds to have a color like fire. Burrow said he didn’t want the piece to be too colorful. Frost also said the check was supposed to be orange, but Burrow wanted it black so he could wear it more often.
“When I talked to Joe, he said, ‘Leo, I’m not really a flashy guy. So, I don’t want something too crazy,’” Frost said. “We picked that one, and it was cool to do the Nike one because he can definitely brand it.”
”Nike owes me a check,” Frost added with a laugh.
But he may just get compensated because Nike did release a shirt with Burrow's pendant on it that is available for pre-order online.
Frost was surprised Burrow’s look went viral after the AFC title game because Burrow actually wore the chain to a previous game.
“He’s had this chain for a solid month, but I guess when you’re going to the Super Bowl, whatever you’ve got on that day is hot property,” Frost said. “Everything has its time.”
Burrow’s time is now. He could become the first quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy, a national title and the Super Bowl.
According to Bengals tight end C.J. Uzomah, Burrow doesn’t just have ice around his neck, but ice in his veins and the utmost confidence.
“We have his mind, his ability to analyze defenses and just be a leader, a presence, an ice-cold blooded killer out there just dissecting defenses. It’s great,” Uzomah said. “That’s why I call him ‘Franchise.’ He’s a franchise player who can turn an organization around. He is a vital part in why we are where we are.”
That’s not the only nickname Burrow has acquired. There’s also Joey B, Jackpot Joey, Joe Shiesty and Joe Brrrr (a play on rapper Pooh Shiesty and his ad-lib). There’s Joe Cool and Smokin’ Joe, especially when he smokes a cigar after winning a title.
A few more nicknames could certainly come along as Burrow’s legend grows with time.
“Just call me Joe,” Burrow said bashfully this week. “Whatever anybody wants to call me is OK with me.”
Bengals head coach Zac Taylor believes a lot of people will be called Joe in the next generation because of Burrow’s growing influence.
“There are going to be a lot of kids emulating him,” Taylor said. “And I would imagine nine to 10 months from now, there’s going to be a lot of young babies named Joe as well.”
Frost better get to work on new designs if there’s a whole new generation of Joe Burrows on the horizon.
The “not flashy” QB owns at least two other chains designed by Frost, along with watches, bracelets and sunglasses.
For Christmas, Burrow bought his offensive linemen 13 G-shock watches “completely bust-down,” a slang term which means covered in diamonds.
“He bought the entire O-line one, even the ones on the practice squad,” Frost said. “It just goes to show they love their quarterback, he loves them, and now they’re in the Super Bowl.”