Drake buys Tupac Shakur’s $1 million crown ring at auction

A gold ring once owned by Tupac Shakur has set a world record after being sold by Sotheby's New York. The jewel was bought by fellow rapper Drake for over $1 million, making it the most valuable hip-hop artefact ever offered at auction

30 July 2023

By Kim Parker

Almost three decades after his untimely passing, the multi-hyphenate musician Tupac Shakur is still making headlines. This time, it’s because his jewellery has smashed a world record at auction.

Tupac Shakur
Rapper Tupac Shakur poses for photos backstage after his performance at the Regal Theater in Chicago, Illinois in March 1994. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

A gold, ruby and diamond ring with crown detailing once owned by the rapper and worn by him during his last public appearance in 1996 has just been auctioned by Sotheby’s New York for over US$1 million, making it the most valuable hip hop-related artefact ever sold. The piece was offered for sale by Yaasmyn Fula – godmother, money manager and advisor to the ‘California Love’ singer – who helped Shakur liaise with jewellers in New York to get it designed.

Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg
The gold, diamond and ruby ring was worn by Tupac Shakur, seen here with Snoop Dogg (left), at what would be his last public appearance at the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall.(Photo by Mitchell Gerber/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

According to Fula, the ring represented “an act of self-coronation” for Shakur and was modelled after the crowns of medieval European kings. It is set with 10 carats of cabochon rubies – gemstones chosen for their long connection with royalty and nobility – and pavé diamonds, arranged as a gold circlet on top of a central gold band. It was inscribed with the words ‘Pac & Dada, 1996’ as a reference to the rapper’s engagement to the actress and designer, Kidada Jones. According to Sotheby’s New York, it is the only piece that belonged to the singer to have been auctioned with a direct provenance, and the only piece designed by him to have ever been offered for sale.

Tupac Shakur's ruby and diamond ring
The yellow gold ring is set with over 10 carats of ruby cabochons and diamond pavé

Originally marked with an estimate between US$200,000 – $300,000, the ring eventually sold for a whopping US$1,016,000 after a ferocious bidding war. Fellow musician Drake later outed himself as the successful bidder, taking to his Instagram stories to show off his record-breaking purchase.

A renowned jewellery collection, Rapper Drake was seen performing onstage during “Lil Baby & Friends Birthday Celebration Concert” in 2022 wearing a £10 million diamond necklace dedicated to his former lovers. (Photo by Prince Williams/Wireimage)

The ‘Know Yourself’ singer is a renowned jewellery and watch collector and has amassed an enormous range of pieces including a diamond-encrusted white gold Rolex Sky-Dweller, an untold number of diamond necklaces (including a £10 million necklace dedicated to his 42 exes, designed by the jeweller Alex Moss) and multiple Cartier Love bangles. Earlier this year, he was spotted in a music video wearing Pharell Williams’ iconic N.E.R.D necklaces, which Williams had sold through his new online auction platform, Joopiter.

Like this? Take a look at Drake’s £10 million engagement ring necklace.

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