A Houston Gem: Johnny Dang

Picture taken from Houston Chronicle

We all know Houston has a very rich culture; from the music, cars, and even the women. While we mostly know Houston to be a musical powerhouse, one of the most underrated names in Houston history doesn’t belong to a rapper or DJ- it belongs to a jeweler.

Johnny Dang made a name for himself in the Houston area and beyond by becoming the man who crafted grillz, chains, and other customized jewelry for some the biggest names in the music industry.

Dang came to Houston from Vietnam in 1996, when he was only 22 years old. Dang’s grandparents were jewelers back in his home country, so he had a little knowledge on jewelry from knowing them. His cousin had a jewelry repair store in the flea market, and that’s where Dang made his first $500.

After Nelly’s smash hit “Grillz” they seem to grow even more popular. Other than the obvious contributors, Nelly, Paul Wall, Ali & Gipp, the man behind the scenes deserves his credit as well- Johnny Dang. Johnny is one of the few cameos in the “Grillz” video.

Video taken from Youtube

From there on, Dang began creating custom pieces for the hip-hop stars and athletes in the Houston area. He opened his own store (the first one) in Sharpstown Mall (now Plaza Americas), in the Southside area of Houston. Dang has become one of the premier hip-hop jewelers in America, supplying mouth diamonds for everyone from local hero Travis Scott to Lil Duval, and even Cardi B. 

According to Dang’s Custom Gold Grillz website, “Johnny Dang is not new to the spotlight, though. He and Paul Wall may have begun by creating grills out of the side of Paul’s car back in the late 90s, but now they service the most recognizable celebrities around. Whether you’re in the hip hop, athletic, or general high-life community, Johnny says he can get you what you need- and at a better price than most. Currently, they’ve sold the King James (Lebron) four grills. Kanye West has two sets, and T.I. spent $35,000 on his set.”

Even though TV Johnny grillz are generally produced for an all-star consumer base, he makes sure not to treat them any differently. Due to his own manufactory, knowledge of his products, and finding high quality materials at a low cost, he’s able to charge fair prices which keep his customers coming back. 

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