Expensive, designer eyewear is a frivolity but a name brand pair of glasses are a pretty accessible status symbol. Excessively expensive eyewear is an indulgence very few of us can afford, however, with prices often inflated by factors like the material used, the design, the craftsmanship, the ability to transition from light to dark, scratch resistance, and more. Although most of shell out quite a bit for our specks - the National Association of Vision Care Plans reports that the average prescription glasses cost $263 - our average is nowhere near the amount that truly luxury sunglasses will set you back.
Originally, sunglasses served two purposes - to protect your eyes from sun and glare, and to modestly hide your peepers. These days, sunglasses have combined functionality and fashion to become assertions of one’s wealth, social status, and fashion sense. Most of the world's more lavish shades are created from gold and platinum and encrusted in precious gemstones like diamonds and emeralds. The world's most expensive sunglasses were created for the highest-end, richest clientele in the haute fashion world, crafted by luxury designers like Dolce & Gabbana, Chopard, and Bulgari. Many of these shades were created as limited edition collectibles for specific celebrities and fashion lovers, helping to assert their individuality and increasing the covetability and value of these fashion accessories. Whether for functional sun protection or as a statement, it's likely that very few of us will ever own a pair of sunglasses priced in the five and six figures - and we probably wouldn't want to, since we seem to lose them so often....
10 Lugano Diamonds Sunshades - $27,000
Lugano Diamonds is a privately-owned, international jewelry firm that was established in 1974 and currently operates in Newport Beach, California. When the company decided to expand into eyewear, they teamed up with famed designer Barton Perreira and created these beautiful sunglasses. These shades include different framing options, such as gold frames with pink lenses with 2.85 carats of pink diamonds, or the leopard print option with 3.59 carats of black diamonds to go with the brown tone. Both options carry the price-tag of $27,000.
9 Bvlgari Parentesi Diamond Sunglasses - $31,000
The luxury brand Bvlgari are celebrating their 130th anniversary after being founded in Rome in 1884. The company considers Rome “both its home and inspiration,” and they have a foot in the jewelry, watch, fragrance, leather, and hotel markets. Most recently, they ventured into the sunglasses industry and produced these gorgeous diamond shades, complete with 206 diamonds - a total of 2.5 carats - fitted over the temples. These sunglasses were produced in a limited edition set with only 10 pairs ever being made, an exclusivity which added to their high price tag.
8 Bentley Platinum Sunglasses - $45,276
Bentley Motors Limited is best known as the high-end British luxury automaker, producing some of the most bespectacled and expensive cars in the world. Founded in 1919 by W.O. Bentley, the company was acquired by Rolls-Royce in 1931. A few years back they released 100 of these slick, limited edition shades to complement their luxury car entitled the “Lausanne.” Made from pure platinum, these babies go for just over $45,000, but if you don't want to completely break the bank, you can acquire lower priced models in rose, yellow, or white gold for $14,000.
7 Bulgari Flora Sunglasses - $59,000
The next shades on the list come from the familiar luxury craftsmen at Bulgari. The frame of these Flora sunglasses is crafted from 18 carat white gold, and embedded along the body are blue sapphires and diamonds. A series of small aquamarines accent the frames as well. While these sunglasses go for a pricey $59,000, a 'basic' model is also available for around $25,000 - they just don’t have as many diamonds, or as much gold.
6 Maybach “The Diplomat I” - $60,000
Maybach-Manufaktur was a Germany luxury car brand established in 1909. After trying to be a profitable rival to Rolls Royce and Bentley for over a decade, the company ceased to be a brand in 2013 and was bought by Daimler AG. They released these snazzy sunglasses some years back to commemorate one of their vehicles.
Only 50 pieces of the limited edition Diplomat I were made, each with 18 carat yellow gold frames and 174 hand-crafted diamonds totaling 1.18 carats surrounding the body. The temples were handcrafted from natural buffalo horn in tortoise color, and they’re ennobled with the MAYBACH logo. The lenses are Carl Zeiss polarized.
5 Luxuriator Style 23 Canary Diamond Sunglasses - $65,000
Jewelry by Franco is a Los Angeles-based jewelry manufacturing company that specializes in women's, men’s and wedding jewelry. These Style 23 shades came from the Luxuriator Collection and cost around $65,000. For that money you get an 18 carat gold plating around the body of the frame, as well as 132 hand-cut, paved diamonds around the bridge and corners of the frames. The dark lenses adjust to light as needed, helping them blend into the gold frame, and the temples are even made out of ivory buffalo horn.
4 CliC Gold 18 Carat Gold Sport Sunglasses - $75,000
CliC Gold was founded by Ron Lando, who has been in the eyewear business for over 35 years. After once designing the most expensive reading glasses in the world, in 2012 he teamed up with internationally renowned jewelry designer Hugh Power to created these, the world’s most expensive sports sunglasses. Each piece is handmade and takes 40 to 50 hours to complete.
Everything - from the screws and the frame to the nose pads - is made from solid gold, making them wildly impractical. The lenses go through a special grind process using the Carl Zeiss Super ET Anti-Reflective coating on the back, and CliC even patented a magnetic front connection system on the bridge. Only 100 pairs were ever produced.
3 Shiels Jewellers Emerald Sunglasses - $200,000
Shiels Jewellers is an Australian company founded in 1945 by Jack Shiels. The original company sold giftware, silver-plated merchandise, and jewelry, but expanded into sunglasses when Albert Bensimon and his wife Nyra purchased the company in 1977. The emeralds used on the lenses of these pricey shades took five years to procure, shape, and cut. The sunglasses are inspired by the Roman emperor Nero, who would use emeralds to protect his eyes when watching gladiatorial matches. This unique pair of glasses also boasts a fine gold frame with diamonds speckled throughout.
2 Dolce & Gabbana DG2027B Sunglasses - $383,609
Until recently, these sunglasses held the record for most expensive sunglasses for many years. The Italian fashion house Dolce and Gabbana are one of the world’s top luxury designers, so it makes sense that they'd produce an extremely high-end pair of spectacles for their clients. The DG2027B sunglasses come with a golden frame and brown-tinted lenses. The namesakes of the company are encrusted around the arms of the frame in tiny diamonds, as if to make sure that everyone who sees you with your $380,000 pair of sunglasses knows where you got them.
1 Chopard De Rigo Vision Sunglasses - $408,000
The most expensive sunglasses in the world are produced by the Swiss luxury company Chopard. They teamed up with luxury glasses manufacturer De Rigo Vision to create these ultra-haute shades. To justify the price-tag of $408,000, the tip ends of these glasses are made from 60 grams of 24 carat gold, while the arms of the glasses are trimmed with dotted gold. This is a stunning feature, but pretty pricey. The company’s signature 'C’ is swirled on the temple of the frame and surrounded by 51 full-cut River diamonds totaling 4 carats.