Godson went from makings rings for Raheem Sterling and Krept & Konan to the actual ring
When your clients are your crew, you move in a very tight circle. Makes sense, then, to get them all together so they can watch you go toe-to-toe in a boxing ring with a man that’s much, much bigger than you. Or maybe it doesn’t. Because Godson Umeh, the jewellery designer who’s done just that, is sat in the Claridge’s bar, where neither time nor space seems to exist in this expensive, dimly-lit den of old-school cocktails and generic diet house music. He’s looking content, if not a little nervous. The haute nibbles in branded bowls haven’t been touched. “I feel good. I’ve had an intensive training camp for the last few weeks, so I want to get it done,” he says. “A friend had a fight, and I met with one of the co-owners and he said he’s seen my work online. I’ve been in the sports world for seven years now, so it’s a good vehicle to steer myself into it.”
He’s doing it for charity. He’s also doing it because it’s a fun thing to do. The 25-year-old, who counts Krept & Konan, Meek Mill, Raheem Sterling, Lil Mosey, Zlatan Ibile, Bay Swag, Leon Bailey and Jim Jones on his books, is also counting on their support for the evening itself. Instead of the usual #teamgodson tees, many of them will be wearing the #teamgodson jewellery, which is arguably a far grander pledge of allegiance than any last-minute print shop job.
It requires a lot more work, too. And Umeh, whose first name lends itself to the bespoke jewellery marque, is the stuff of complex, fully customised dreams. “I want to throw my brand into a different audience. It’s very online, gamers, people who look at jewellery in a different way,” he says. “This match showcases my brand to the outside. When you think of jewellery, you think of watch, bracelet, chains” – on his own wrist, a very icy Audemars Piguet – “but I make jewellery as art. Diamonds on shoelaces. Casio G-shock watches and handbags can be encrusted. Anything you think of as an accessory can be used as jewellery. It’s about how you wear it.”
After a burgeoning football career fizzled out, Umeh launched a concierge service fixing sneakers, hotels, and everything in between for his friends who were still climbing the ever-narrowing ladder to the Premier League. “I took a trip to New York to meet a supplier, and I realised how much money was to be made in jewellery,” he says. “I learnt the knowledge and the tricks of the trade there, and I brought it all back here.” Soon enough, his first big order came through: a pair of tiger pendants for Raheem Sterling’s son.
It’s not traditional jewellery that belongs on the lapel of a diplomat’s wife. It’s not supposed to be. Every piece is different and has its own life cycle, which can be a few weeks to a few months. Umeh points to one of the most creative and experimental pieces in his portfolio: when asked about the maddest commission he’s received, the Godson team all knowingly laugh in unison. “The most expensive piece I sold, currently, was this piece for a Nigerian artist. It was £250,000, just for the pendant.” It’s bigger than a big man’s hand. It was over 150 karats of diamonds. The chain and the pendant clocks in at over a kilo. It takes a lot of work, and a lot of money, to make jewellery like this.
The boxing match, held just a few days later, is as starry as any iced-out grail. The fight ends early after a technical first-round KO. It’s disappointing for Umeh. But his crew and his fans still cheer, and the jewellery hits just as hard under the bright lights of the Telford arena. This really is a tight circle.
Scroll on for all the shots from the big night.
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