ARTS & CULTURE
01/10/2012 02:19 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

An Art Historical Narrative Of Bling (PHOTOS)

Notorious B.I.G. once said "Mo money, mo problems," and no one knows this quite like the Medici family. The ruling patrons of 14th century Florence dictated the cultural tastes of the period with the power of their pocketbooks. Eventually the orgy of wealth ended with mass extinctions and beheadings and it wasn't pretty. The Medicis remain a legendary icon for overflowing wealth; it's just too bad their days were pre-grills.

The term 'bling-bling' was allegedly invented by Lil Wayne in the studio, referring to over-the-top jewelry or other flashy ornaments. The word is an onomatopoeia of the bell sound (ping!) in a 1960's Ultrabrite commercial where the brightness of one's smile was so intensely flashy it made a bell sound (ping!).

Inspired by the Medici's lavish lifestyle, we traversed the history of art to collect the following images, images of those who boasted the baddest bling. Check them out; the ice is so bright you may need to wear sunglasses.

PHOTO GALLERIES
Bling Bling!

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