Rubies, sapphires, emeralds and diamonds - jewels have been admired by human kind since ancient times, when people believed they had supernatural powers. Women and men alike, adorned themselves with jewelry made from precious metals and gems in the hopes of appearing more beautiful and perhaps channeling some of the jewels' powers. The traditions of birthstones and diamond engagement rings have only furthered the value and mystique behind jewels in today's society.
It's not only necklaces, rings and bracelets that are covered in jewels, however. People with a bit too much money on their hands have encrusted jewels onto everything from everyday objects, to gadgets, to live animals. These bizarre, blinged-out pieces have little practical use, but they sure are interesting to gawk at. Let's start with number nine:
9 A Phone
The Vertu Diamond mobile phone, which came out in 2007, is encrusted with, you guessed it, real diamonds. The phone is worth $88,000 and made of white gold and black and white diamonds. Only 200 of the phones were made from the British company. Unfortunately, the phone is worth more as a sparkly accessory than an actual mobile device. It lacks bluetooth, a camera, 3G, a card slot and an infrared port, among other deficiencies. Even for 2007, the Vertu Diamond was pretty low tech. It sure is nice to look at, though!
8 A Dog Collar
For $2000, your own dog can wear a gold, diamond-studded pendant around his neck. But this isn't just a sparkly accessory. The heart-shaped necklace from JooZoo emits songs and vibrations, dependent on your dog's mood. It's supposed to increase your pup's blood flow, reduce his stress levels and encourage play and movement. JooZoo suggests that it's the perfect way to entertain Fido on car rides or when he's home alone, anxiously waiting for your return from work. We just hope he doesn't try to use this diamond accessory as a chew toy.
Every girl who's dreamed of being a princess wishes she had this pair of blinged-out kicks in her closet. Completely studded with real diamonds, these heels are worth around $465,000. The shoes were created for a 2013, Ronald McDonald children's charity auction and were able to raise $22,000 for the families of sick children.
Kathryn Wilson, a designer from New Zealand, and Sarah Hutchings, from the Orsini Fine Jewelry Company, worked together to create the shoes. They say it took at least 50 hours to make them. The process included painting them white, sketching the design, attaching lace and then painstakingly gluing each diamond, one at a time, with a pair of tweezers. The Cinderella-like shoes are now the most expensive ones in the world.
Centuries-old skeletons, encrusted in precious metals and jewels, were unearthed from Roman catacombs about a year ago. Discovered by historian Paul Koudounaris, who earned himself the nickname "Indiana Bones," the skeletons are believed to be that of Catholic martyrs who were sent to replace relics after the Protestant Reformation.
Historians estimate that each skeleton took up to five years to bejewel. The process was probably done by nuns because the bones of martyrs would not be allowed to be touched by unholy hands. Koudounaris has said that, although the saintly remains are covered in pounds and pounds of jewels, "it's impossible to put a modern day price on the skeletons."
Victoria's Secret's jewel encrusted "fantasy bras," worth millions of dollars, are the star of their annual fashion show. The 2013 fantasy bra, worth $10 million, is one of the most elaborate yet. It is made out of 18 karat gold, a 52 carat ruby centerpiece and 4,200 other smaller jewels like diamonds and sapphires. The bra reportedly took a total of 500 hours to assemble.
Each fantasy bra is custom made to fit a particular supermodel. Candice Swanepoel had the honor in 2013, putting her name among famous Victoria's Secret Angels like Heidi Klum and Tyra Banks. Although the bejeweled braziers are stunning to look at, they're not very comfortable to wear. In 2005, Yahoo Omg's Breanne Heldman had the chance to try on that year's fantasy bra. She said, the "boulder holder was heavy." With million of dollars worth of jewels on it, that's not surprising.
4 An iPod Shuffle
This iPod shuffle is made with 18 karat gold and covered in diamonds. Worth $20,000, the shuffle also comes with matching diamond studded ear buds. The iPod comes from a German company, Xexoo, that wanted to add mega value to one of the cheapest and least popular versions of the iPod. Anyone who purchases the diamond MP3 also receives a 24/7 insurance service that will exchange the iPod for a brand new one if anything tarnishes it. We don't think this is the kind of iPod you would listen to on the bus to work, however. It might be better locked behind a glass case.
Who would need guns made out of gold and diamonds? The Mexican Mafia, of course. Dozens of blinged-out weapons were seized from the midst of the drug war in 2010. The handguns found were each uniquely designed with silver and gold plating, personal logos, patterns and lots of jewels. Even the triggers were encrusted with diamonds and the ammunition magazines plated with silver.
A stash of these types of guns was found on a fishing boat on the Pacific, along with 105 bales of cocaine. More golden, bejeweled guns were found during the raid of a drug boss's basement. One thing's for sure, the Mexican mafia sure knows how to spend their money.
2 Live Beetles
An old Mexican tradition, Maquech brooches are live beetles adorned with gold and gems, and are worn by fashionable women. Worth about $500, each beetle has a safety pin and gold leash attached to it so it can wander around their wearer's chest but never stray too far. Unsurprisingly, animal activists, as well as those who are creeped out by insects, are appalled at this tradition.
The unique jewelry stems from Mayan folklore: the tale goes that a princess was unable to marry her true love. A medicine man took pity on her and turned her into the first Maquech beetle so she could always be near her forbidden lover's heart. Don't try to take this jewelry home as a souvenir from your Mexican vacation, though. A United States citizen did just that and was stopped at customs, where the beetle was confiscated and sent to pest control. Just because it's covered in gems, doesn't mean this live animal is an exception to border regulations.
1 A Toilet
One of the strangest objects encrusted in gems would have to be this Japanese toilet, which is worth $130,000. Covered in 72,000 Swarovski crystals, the lavatory, which is also remote controlled, was made by Japanese toilet brand INAX. A rep from the company told Britain's INT news, "In Japan we believe there's a deity existing in the toilet, and that's why keeping it clean and taking good care of it is an old-age Japanese custom."
This loo goes way beyond clean, however, and is more like a shrine to the toilet gods. The extravagant potty was on display in Tokyo in 2011 behind a glass case. At the end of the year, the display was taken down. No one seems sure where it is being stored now, but if it's being put to practical use, it must be in the washroom of a king.
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