Unusual Everyday Objects Gilded in Diamonds

Natural diamonds have wielded their transformative power, turning everyday items into striking expressions of luxury and opulence for Indian royalty and pop music icons alike.

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Everyday objects bejewelled with natural diamonds are testament to the transformative power of these dazzling rocks. Images courtesy of: Nick Cannon shoes, © Jason of Beverly Hills; Cartier clip, Sotheby’s; Diamond bag, Dia Precious

Natural diamonds have adorned more than just the customary jewels and crowns of royalty,  extending to diamonds as paperweights and diamond-encrusted spoons. Now, one doesn’t have to be royalty to be able to bejewel everyday objects with natural diamonds. Whether it is a magnificent flamingo clip by Cartier, or everyday contact lenses, phone cases to handbags, diamonds have seamlessly integrated into everyday life to become expressions of opulence and style for those with a discerning taste.

Beyond being an epitome of luxury, their unparalleled brilliance and rarity, enduring appeal and heritage value make diamonds the ultimate choice for elevating the ordinary to the extraordinary.

Don’t Judge the Phone by Its Case :

From 18-carat white gold grills to an INR 83 lakh custom chain by Italian brand Stone Island, there are few things Drake doesn’t dip in gold and stud with diamonds. The most streamed artist of all time and the fourth richest rapper in the world, Drake arguably owns one of the most expensive phones in the world. In 2019, the rapper bought an iPhone worth INR 3.33cr. If you’re wondering which model that is, it’s not exactly the phone he paid big money for. It’s the cover that costs 400 times the iPhone itself. Made by famed jeweller Jason Arasheben of Jason of Beverly Hills, the iPhone case was designed in 18-carat white gold and studded with blue and white diamonds. The case also features a white gold OVO owl logo in the centre with two diamond eyes. The OVO owl was also seen in a pendant commissioned by Drake to Arasheben using “over a kilo of gold” and “over 100 carats of Asscher cut diamonds.”

Diamond-encrusted luxury phones
Diamond-encrusted luxury phones

From Drake’s iPhone case worth INR 3.33 crore to Vertu’s opulent pink-diamond studded handsets, these phones prove that for the world’s elite, there’s more to gadgets than its technology. Images courtesy of: Drake’s iPhone case © Jason of Beverly Hills; Vertu Diamond Phone, Sotheby’s

An Arm Candy Like No Other:

The age of associating utility with bags has given over to bags as luxury fashion statements, perhaps epitomised by this bespoke Nights Diamond Purse by Surat-based jeweller DiA. The bag is handcrafted in 18k white gold with natural round diamonds totalling 64.76 carats. Beauty and form take precedence over functionality in this shimmering mini bag, but it can still hold smaller night-out essentials like your card, cash, and lipstick.

A Beguiling Legacy, Set in Diamonds

The Nizams of Hyderabad were some of the most discerning connoisseurs of jewellery, and history is witness to the fact that they liked everything bejewelled, even the buttons of their achkan or sherwani. A set of buttons from the early 20th century depicts the enamelled portraits of Nawab Mir Mahboob Ali Khan Bahadur: Asaf Jah VI: the Nizam of Hyderabad in gold with the borders set with natural diamonds.

The last Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan was titled the richest man on the planet by TIME magazine in 1937. Just how rich, you ask? He had an approximate net worth equivalent of INR 18 lakh crores in the present day. One could also weigh Nizam’s wealth in carats. He used the rare Jacob diamond, a 185- carat natural diamond (ranked as the fifth biggest diamond in the world) as a paperweight. Khan also owned Koh-i-Noor, Hope Diamond, the Darya-e Nur, Nur-Ul-Ain Diamond, Princie Diamond, Regent Diamond, and Wittelsbach Diamond. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering he owned the Golconda Diamond Mines which exported some of the biggest, most precious rocks to the world.

Diamond-encrusted gold buttons featuring a portrait of the Nizam of Hyderabad Nawab Mir Mahboob Ali Khan Bahadur
Nawab Mir Mahboob Ali Khan Bahadur: Asaf Jah VI: the Nizam of Hyderabad set his royal portrait in gold buttons with their borders set with diamonds. Image courtesy of: Bonhams
Brushed gold lipstick holder and compact with round diamonds, by Buccellati
For modern day royalty, there’s the Buccellati lipstick holder and compact crafted from brushed gold, encrusted with round diamonds to make every reapplication feel like a regal affair. Image courtesy of: Sotheby’s

No Such Thing as Too Many Diamonds

An accessory in the vanity that doubles up as a luxury statement piece, this Buccellati lipstick holder and compact must make reapplications feel like a regal affair. Crafted from brushed gold, and adorned with an intricate openwork design encrusted with round diamonds, the compact opens to a mirror and powder screen. The diamonds weigh an approximate 1.05 carats. Each piece bears the signature of M. Buccellati  and is made from 18-carat gold.

Luxury Calling

Long before Drake gilded his phone case with diamonds, VERTU, the first luxury handcrafted mobile phone maker in the world, was making ultra-glam dazzling phones designed with alligator and calfskin, gold and diamonds. Models start from INR 4.16 lakhs and can go up to as much as INR 4 crores, depending on what they are designed with. This piece from its Colored Diamonds Collection uses super rare pink diamonds in floral motifs along with diamonds, rubies and pink sapphires. The diamonds, pink sapphires and rubies together weigh approximately 3.05, 3.95 and 1.00 carats respectively, mounted in 18-carat pink gold.

Sparkling Steps

It’s said that a woman can conquer the world in the right shoes. And we all know the adage that diamonds are a girl’s best friend. In 2018, UAE-based brand Jada Dubai in collaboration with Passion Jewellers brought both together in the Passion Diamond shoes, a pair of stilettos designed in gold featuring hundreds of diamonds, crowned with two imposing D-flawless diamonds of 15 carats each, taking 9 months to make. The pair comes with a price tag of INR 1.2 billion. A prototype size UK36 pair was (fittingly) launched at the world’s only 7-star hotel, Burj Al Arab, along with three more limited edition creations made with diamonds, rubies, gold and pearls, including the Diamond Pearl sandals, the Ruby Stilettos featuring rubies, gold and diamonds, and the Diamond and Gold stilettos.

In 2014, American comedian and TV host Nick Cannon sported a pair of shoes on the America’s Got Talent finale that made headlines. The Tom Ford pair took over 1 year and cost a humble INR 8.24 crores per shoe. The pair was crafted by celebrity-favourite jeweller Jason Arasheben who told USA Today that “It took four months alone to source all of the diamonds and create them the same size to make the shoe.”

Jada Dubai designs only shoes with diamonds. For the launch of our second collection, we wanted to create a piece that is truly unique in the world using very rare diamonds,” Maria Majari, co-founder and creative director of Jada Dubai, who designed the shoes, told Khaleej Times

Jada Dubai’s Passion Diamond shoes, with a price tag of INR 1.2 billion, are designed in gold featuring hundreds of diamonds, crowned with two imposing D-flawless diamonds of 15 carats each. Now that’s one way to add some bling to the outfit. Image: Instagram @jadadubai

Diamonds in the Air

Few brides would have a hand fan as part of their wedding trousseau. But then, Archduchess Maria Immaculata of Austria (1878-1968) was no ordinary bride. On the occasion of her wedding to Robert, Duke of Württemberg (1873-1947) on 29 October 1900, the Archduchess held a pristine mother-of-pearl and natural diamond fan given to her by her great-aunt Archduchess Maria Karoline of Austria-Teschen (1825- 1915). The guards and sticks were made of mother-of-pearl, one guard embellished with the cypher of Archduchess Maria Immaculata of Austria-Tuscany set with circular-cut and cushion-shaped diamonds, the lace leaf centring on the crests of the Württemberg and Habsburg dynasties, and the rivets each set with a cushion-cut diamond, supporting a silk tassel.

Archduchess Maria Immaculata of Austria said yes to a mother-of-pearl and diamond hand fan, a royal accessory to her trousseau. Image courtesy of: Sotheby’s

Not Your Everyday Lingerie: The Extravagant Victoria’s Secret Fantasy Bra

Internationally renowned Lebanese-origin jeweller Mouawad’s exceptional, one-of-a-kind pieces hold multiple Guinness World Records. Since 2001, the brand has also forged a collaboration with Victoria’s Secret, marking the jewellery brand’s foray into the fashion industry with one of the most talked-about fashion shows in the world. In its 2003 show, former VS angel Heidi Klum walked the runway in Mouwad’s Very Sexy Fantasy Bra inspired by Broadway lights which, at ₹917,591,928 earned the title of the most expensive bra in the world by Guinness World Records. What do you get for that price? Only a 69.68-carat diamond cut from the second largest diamond in the world, 2,809 exquisitely cut white diamonds, yellow-orange sapphires, rhodolites, and amethysts, totalling 2,200 carats. The bra comes with a matching bikini bottom studded with 3,236 diamonds and coloured gemstones, with a total weight of 200 carats.

Archduchess Maria Immaculata of Austria said yes to a mother-of-pearl and diamond hand fan, a royal accessory to her trousseau. Image courtesy of: Sotheby’s

Utensils, but Make It Royalty

“Some people are born with a silver spoon in their mouth.” And some are born with diamond ones. A piece of the Ottoman Empire’s known taste for opulence is exhibited at the Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul, Turkey, in the form of a pair of identical spoons crafted from mother-of-pearl and diamonds. The drop-shaped mother-of-pearl bowls are attached to a cylindrical carved coral handle, adorned at the top with a diamond-studded terminal resembling an aigrette. Another piece from 1900s India features a spoon crafted from three table-cut diamonds, bordered with ruby settings. Its handle comprises a row of five rectangular table-cut diamonds, complemented by an emerald stem and finial. The spoon is adorned with chased gold mounts on its front, back, and sides.

Diamond-encrusted spoons
Spoons encrusted with diamonds must make everything taste sweeter. Images courtesy of: Ottoman Diamond Spoons, Sotheby’s; Diamond ruby ceremonial spoon, © 2003 Christie’s Images Limited