Sure, you can find lighters for as cheap as a dollar. However, nothing combines elegance and functionality better than a platinum, gold, or silver lighter encrusted with diamonds. They are collector's items, and they make perfect gifts. Their value is measured in the material, age, previous owner, and rarity, and smokers with a big paychecks know that nothing reads wealth and social status than this small piece of pocket jewelry.
The luxury lighters market monopoly is currently held by S.T. Dupont. However, the lighters market is still dominated by disposable lighters, which are bad for the environment, as they are non-recyclable and non-refillable. A luxury lighter is distinguished by the material it is made of, such as precious metals and stones, as well as its limited series. Producing one luxury lighter requires an average of 70 pieces, 600 operations, 300 tests, and more than 100 hours of labor. All collector's lighters are handcrafted by artisans experienced in handling gold, precious stones, and varnish, executing meticulous engravings and manual polishing, making each lighter unique, and thus very valuable.
In 1924, Alfred Dunhill invented the first lighter that could be handled with one hand. Since then, high-end luxury lighters have always caught people's attention, becoming just as indispensable among the rich and famous as a pearl necklace or a diamond ring. Famous celebrities throughout history knew that a luxury lighter is a glamorous, yet neutral accessory that would undoubtedly turn heads. Elvis Presley, Coco Chanel, Frank Sinatra, and Noel Coward are only a few of those who managed to set new trends when it came to pocket jewelry.
10 Dunhill Gold Apex lighter: $13,000
A London-based luxury goods company whose presence on the luxury goods scene can be traced back to the 1890's, Dunhill's very first lighter was named Unique and was released in 1923. Then, in the 1950s, Dunhill developed the world's first butane gas lighter. However, back to the recent present, Dunhill released an anniversary edition gold Apex lighter in 2009. The 18 carat yellow gold Apex lighter is dedicated to Elvis Presley. The lighter is a slim Rollalite model, inspired by the same model that was owned by Elvis Presley himself in the 1950's. With a Crosshatch pattern, only 50 Apex lighters will leave the factory, each one carrying a price tag of $13,000.
9 1933 Zippo lighter: $18,000
Zippo lighters have already become an American symbol. Whenever and wherever there's a strong wind, they come to your rescue. The second most expensive Zippo lighter ever sold is a limited series original 1933 lighter, the first model to have ever left the factory. While most of the models manufactured between 1933 and 1937 were pretty much identical, this 1933 lighter has diagonal lines across the lid, which helped it fetch $18,000 in Tokyo in 2001. In 2002, the company itself bought a 1933 lighter for its own collection, dropping $12,000 for it.
8 Cartier Watch Lighter: $18,988
The most expensive lighter ever sold on eBay is this extremely rare Cartier watch lighter, which fetched $18,988 in 2013. This remarkable 18 karat gold Cartier Watch lighter features no less than 15 built-in jewels and was handcrafted in the 1930's in France. In fact, the wick lighter is marked "Cartier Paris Made in France 05396". Decorated with fine enamel details, the art deco style lighter is a miniature masterpiece in the true sense of the word, a piece of jewelry anyone would be proud to have in their pocket.
7 Faberge Jeweled and White Enameled lighter: $30,000
Stamped with the workmaster's mark of Henrik Wigstrom, St. Petersburg, this delicate and refined Faberge Jeweled and White Enameled lighter was most likely handcrafted between 1908 and 1917. With a simple rectangular shape and rounded corners, this brilliant piece of pocket jewelry is enameled with opaque and white stripes. The centerpieces are a diamond-set push piece and a cover border with a band of green and white leaves and berries. This brilliant Faberge lighter was sold by Christie's auction house for $30,000 in 2010.
6 Cartier Black Enamel and Diamond lighter: $34,375
Sometimes, lighters become more than a piece of jewelry, they are a symbol of exquisite taste. This Cartier Black Enamel and Diamond lighter handmade in Paris is an art deco piece that transcends time. The square-shaped lighter with a sophisticated design is made from platinum and metal, featuring a diamond-set cover revealing the mechanism. The diamond-set is paved with no less than 80 year old European single-cut diamonds summing up 2.75 carats. Previously owned by one of the last members of one of America's most influential families, Consuelo Vanderbilt Earl, the lighter was sold by Doyle New York for $34,375 in 2013.
5 75th Anniversary Zippo lighter: $37,000
The Zippo Windproof Lighter manufactured in Bradford Pennsylvania is a registered trademark that has earned the well-deserved title of an American Classic. Renowned among smokers and campers as being able to light a fire even under strong winds, the history of Zippo lighters can be traced back to 1932, while the first Zippo lighter was sold in 1933. Back then, they all looked alike and were sold for around $2 each. In 2007, Zippo sold their most expensive lighter in history, the 75th Anniversary Zippo. This wasn't just a lighter manufactured for the occasion, it is actually one of the original 1933 lighters, sold for $37,000.
4 Faberge Yellow Enamel Lighter: $65,650
Sold by Sotheby's in 2011 for $65,650, this Faberge Yellow Enamel lighter, the very definition of glamor and elegance, is enough to make anyone jealous of its owner. Stamped with the workmaster's mark of Vladimir Soloviev, St. Petersburg in Cyrillic, it was handcrafted sometime between 1908 and 1917. This extremely rare vintage Russian lighter is the perfect example of simplicity. Rectangular shaped with rounded corners, it features fine translucent yellow color sparkles in the reflections of its fine wavy design, all topped by a spring-hinged lid.
3 S.T. Dupont Ligne 2 Champagne, $79,000
S.T. Dupont, the Parisian luxury goods brand, managed to break records when they released their most expensive luxury lighter model, the Ligne 2 Champagne, in 2009. It is currently the world's most expensive non-antique lighter, with a price tag of $79,000. S.T. Dupont's loveliest jewel comes in four varieties: solid gold, white gold, diamond, and rose-pink gold lighters. Each lighter is carved into 18 karat white gold and is decorated with 462 diamonds summing up 5.2 carats, all GVS quality. The lighter comes with a matching fountain pen, made from white gold and encrusted with 502 diamonds, for $74,000.
2 Faberge Imperial table lighter, $136,000
The Russian royalty did know a thing or two about style. When it came to cigars and cigarettes, they needed something truly spectacular to light them with. Sold by Christie's auction house in 2012 for no less than $136,000, much more than the estimated value, this particular Faberge table lighter in the form of a seated monkey is a precious piece of Russian art and history. The Faberge silver table lighter is marked with the Imperial warrant and is stamped with the workmaster's mark of Julius Rappaport, St Petersburg. It was most likely handmade between 1899 and 1904. The realistically shaped monkey holds its tail in its right arm, while its surface simulates fur. The five inch tall monkey opens up to reveal a lighter liquid reservoir, while the tail provides the outlet for the taper.
1 Silver and Jadeite Ashtray and Lighter: $254,500
When Nicholas II, the last Russian Emperor, smoked his cigars it was most likely this kind of ashtray and lighter that he used. This beautiful antique jadeite ashtray with lighter may be the reason why people started smoking in the first place. With an archaic-style design, this lovely piece of jewelry is beyond perfection. It was sold by Sotheby's in 2011 for a jaw-dropping $254,500. The bright green and celadon colored piece is decorated with jadeite Kui dragon belt hooks, which frame the silver tray with engraved decorations and two glass compartments. A lighter holder in the center holds the exquisite silver lighter with jadeite plaques carved with persimmon scrolls. This particular silver and jadeite ashtray and lighter features the workmaster's mark of Edward I. Farmer, New York, and was most likely handmade around 1920.