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Moneyed Mini-Mes Are Ice, Ice Babies

Ma-ma, da-da, bling bling.

Being born with a silver spoon in your mouth no longer makes you the royal ruler of the playground. To wear that baby bonnet you have to be rocking a big rock.

Today's parents of means can't seem to get enough jewels for their little gems. From tennis bracelets to two-carat diamond stud earrings, pint-sized jewelry has become almost as common as diaper rash.

"It's become quite popular. It used to be that earrings for babies were popular among certain ethnic groups, but it never went beyond that," said Sharon Bountain, president and CEO of North America Links of London.

Links of London (search) boasts a wide selection of baby baubles, including the Little Madam Charm Bracelet ($430), which features charms in the shape of a cupcake and baby doll.

"Charm bracelets are a big seller because they're very personalized. We have one called the Sweetie Bracelet (search), which is actually one of the top sellers worldwide. Our SoHo store (in Manhattan) got so many requests for the baby version of the popular adult Sweetie Bracelet that the company responded to the interest by making a baby version that is just flying out the door," said Bountain, adding that Sarah Jessica Parker (search) bought the Sweetie for her little sweetie, James Wilke (search).

But when it comes to celebrity baby bling, nobody is more in-the-know than jeweler to the stars Jacob "the jeweler" Arabo (search), owner of JACOB & Company (search).

"We get requests for baby jewelry all the time. People look at a large piece of jewelry and ask if we can make it in mini size for their daughter," said Arabo, who also sells diamond-encrusted toys and mini diamond cross necklaces.

And like their parents, most of Arabo's celebrity clients' kids are iced out, as they say in the hip-hop world.

Baby Phat fashion-designer Kimora Lee Simmons (search) asked Arabo to make miniature versions of her diamond chains, bracelets and rings for her daughters.

"So if [Simmons] has a 20-carat diamond ring, I would make a 1-carat replica for [Ming Lee or Aoki Lee]," said Arabo.

Soccer star David Beckham (search) ordered tiny versions of his own JACOB & Company watch for his kids Romeo and Brooklyn. And Sean "Diddy" Combs is also a customer.

"P. Diddy is the king of bling, and he makes sure that his children have it as well. Two of his sons have diamond crosses and diamond chains," Arabo said.

David Yurman (search), an upscale department store jewelry staple, has had success with its Cable Kids Collection (search), which includes everything from tiny birthstone cable bracelets ($250) to earrings, rings and necklaces.

Similarly, jeweler John Hardy (search) has been picked up by Neiman Marcus' baby department as well as a slew of other retailers, thanks to items like the $625 baby pave diamond bracelet and the silver and 18-carat yellow gold Baby Bunny Bracelet for $195.

Two other hot retail items are Baby Gund's (search) matching mother-and-baby tennis bracelets ($12,000 for the pair), as well as the highly publicized Birth Diamond necklace, which starts at $620.

And this tiny trend goes beyond Tinseltown.

"My daughter is in a play group and all the girls wear necklaces," said mother-of-four Sara Gottlieb of Long Island, N.Y.

"Sometimes it is kiddie jewelry that they are wearing, but mostly they have on gold pieces like bracelets, necklaces and earnings. Some with stones, some without," added Gottlieb, whose friend uses a gold bangle bracelet as a teething ring.

Though a bejeweled baby is rather cute, there are risks involved in adornment.

"You really don't want to put small objects that could pose a chocking hazard in the environment of a small child who can pick things up and put them in his mouth," said Dr. Gary Smith, chairman of the Committee on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention for the American Academy of Pediatrics (search).

"Regardless of the material it is made of, price, intent or cultural context, a small part is a small part, and you don't want a child to put it in his mouth," he added, noting that choking is the leading cause of death in children.

Strangulation is also a concern.

"If you put something around a small child's neck ... if the necklace gets caught on something, the child doesn't have the maturity, judgment or coordination to pull themselves out a situation that could strangle them. This could even happen to preschool age children."

But the mini-me jewelry market keeps growing despite the risks, perhaps because babies these days are seen as extensions of their parents: If the mother or father's style is over-the-top or opulent, junior will reflect that, experts say.

Also, families are trying to create heirlooms that can be passed down from generation to generation.

"It has a lot of value to the person who gets a piece of jewelry as a child and then grows up and passes it on to their daughter or son," said Arabo.

Bountain agrees that longevity is a big part of baby bling's appeal.

"This lasts. If a child gets this kind of gift they can wear it from when they are an infant to 6, 7 or 8. It can grow with them and stays in the family."