Carrie from “Sex and the City” may have made nameplate necklaces into an iconic fashion statement, but she wasn’t the only one to start a trend with a nameplate necklace.

This iconic necklace is not only for celebrities but are fairly common statement of girlhood and coming of age for women of color and ethnic minorities. You may have seen some customized name items in gift shops aside and realized that there are many common names.

For girls with uniquely spelled names, personalized name jewelry gives them the chance to legitimize and visible more ethnic names. Cornell University Professor, Oneka LaBennett, reflects on her personal experience living in Brooklyn during the 70s and 80s. LaBennett says that there were not to many representation of ethnic groups in popular culture. She also feels that the nameplate necklace also served a purpose of wanting to assert one’s sense of self.

During the 1980s the nameplate necklace sent a message similar to graffiti, a form of self expression through an attached name-sake. The initial influence of the nameplate necklace came from the development of the hip-hop culture in the mid-1980s and making Fulton Street the custom nameplate jewelry mecca in New York.

The addition of TV network, Yo! MTV Raps, brought a new medium of exposure for the nameplate, increasing the popularity on a national level. The racial cross-over occurred when “Sex and the City” hit the air, having many fashionistas of all races wanting to get in on the nameplate trend.

This change was for the good but also came with some bad implications for commercializing a personal item. Walmart started selling nameplates that we’re pre-printed with generic names that do not reflect the ethnic community fairly. Though the style was more popular many felt that this took some of the personal meaning from the symbolic piece of jewelry. Some also say that the marginalizing of nameplates also takes away from personal meaning and heritage (through the different variety of name spelling).

This is only a small part of the history behind the nameplate, for more you can check out the video above.