The Barbie Doll is more than just a toy; it has become a venerable cultural icon. Ruth Handler created Barbie, hoping to fill in a gap in the doll market at that time that focused primarily on infant dolls. After seeing her daughter’s penchant for dressing up her baby dolls as an adult, Handler took note and presented the idea to her husband, Elliot, one of the co-founders of the Mattel toy corporation.
A trip to Germany led to the discovery of the Bild Lilli, an adult-bodied blonde bombshell of a doll, which was popular even with German kids. Handler took it home and used it as an inspiration for the Barbie doll. Mattel eventually acquired Bild Lilli in 1964, who halted its production so that the company could focus on the Barbie doll.
The Barbie doll has since taken a life of its own. It has appeared in several animated movies, and even had supporting roles in blockbuster films like Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3. The noted artist Andy Warhol also made a painting of the doll, and a section of Times Square in New York City was once named Barbie Boulevard. The doll’s 50th anniversary was celebrated with a fashion show headlined by noted top designers like Vera Wang, Calvin Klein and Christian Louboutin.
The full name of Barbie is Barbara Millicent Roberts. She was born to George and Margaret Roberts and she hails from Willows town in Wisconsin. She has an on and off boyfriend in Ken Carson. She also has several pets, including dogs, cats, horses, zebra, and even a panda and a lion cub. She also has several pink Corvette convertibles, jeeps and trailers. She operates commercial airliners, and she can serve as both flight attendant and pilot. Barbie has also been presented as a doctor, astronaut and NASCAR race car driver.
Barbie has been depicted in several different ways. Some have become rare and expensive. The following is the top five most expensive Barbie dolls in the world.
1. Barbie by Stefano Canturi – $632,000
This doll was created to coincide with the launching of the Barbie Basics collection in Australia. Stefano Canturi, the internationally renowned jewelry designer, was enlisted by Mattel to help out.
The doll features a necklace that has a rare emerald-cut Australian pink diamond that weighs one carat. The pink diamond was specifically handpicked for this doll from the Australian Argyle mine. Several white diamonds that weigh three carats surround this. Barbie can also be seen wearing a diamond Cubism ring on her right hand.
Canturi is famous for his Cubism jewelry. He has personally designed and made jewels for famous celebrities and influential women. He applied his Cubism design concept to Barbie with the aim of producing a modern and timeless style.
The doll was unveiled on 4 May 2010 during the Australian Fashion Week. It was valued at A$600,000. Converted to greenbacks, Barbie by Stefano Canturi should cost around $632,000.
2. Barbie and the Diamond Castle – $94,800
In 2008, a movie entitled Barbie & the Diamond Castle was released, though it went straight to video. The film featured computer animations and was voiced by Kelly Sheridan, the same voice actress who voiced Barbie in the CGI Barbie film series. The movie did not hit it big, however, despite a really expensive Barbie doll that was created to promote it. The dress for this Barbie doll was encrusted with 318 real diamonds.
3. De Beers 40th Anniversary Barbie – $85,000
De Beers is widely known in the jewelry world because of its domination in the diamond sector, be it in mining, hops, trading and industrial manufacturing. Cecil Rhodes, founded it in 1888 with financial backing from one of the wealthiest families in the world, the Rothschilds. Ernest Oppenheimer eventually took control of the company in 1927.
In 1999, during the 40th anniversary celebration of the Barbie doll, De Beers decided to mark the event with a special edition Barbie. The De Beers Barbie was eventually released, and it featured the doll in an evening gown. It also included a bikini top. And since it was from De Beers, the belt was specially made and encrusted with 160 diamonds. Barbie can also be seen wearing white gold jewelry.
4. Barbie No. 1 – $8,000
This was the first ever Barbie doll that was released in 1959. The bottom of its feet has round holes and copper tubes. It has distinctive white irises with black outlines and some blue eye shadow. Subsequent Barbies feature blue irises.
The eyebrows are arched, not rounded. The color of the hair came in both blonde and brunette. Barbie wears a swimming outfit with zebra prints.
To ascertain that your Barbie is a first edition model, make sure that the feet have holes at the bottom. The second edition of Barbie dolls was also released in the same year, but they did not have holes in the feet.
5. Lorraine Schwartz’s Bling Barbie – $7,500
Lorraine Schwartz is an American diamond and gold jewelry designer based in New York City. She is known for her exclusive designs that are sold only by private commission or through her showroom in Manhattan or at Bergdorf Goodman in New York. Her works have been worn by the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Cate Blanchett, Hale Berry and Beyonce Knowles.
When Mattel decided to come out with a new Barbie Basics Collection, it teamed up with the Council of Fashion Designers of America, or the CFDA. It came up with a design of a Barbie wearing a tiny black dress. The doll also sported accessory kits.
The collection featured 12 one-of-a-kind Barbie dolls dressed up by accessory designers from the CFDA. Aside from the introduction of these 12 dolls, it was also meant to be a tweet-up, as it celebrated Barbie’s signing up to Twitter.
The main feature, however, is the diamond-encrusted doll from Schwartz. The jewelry itself was valued at more than $25, 000. It was auctioned off, and the winner certainly got good value, as the winning bid was only $7,500.