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Apart from gold's value as medium of exchange, jewelry and industrial good, it has been used for many grandiose projects, making for very impressive, and expensive, items.
Published: 31-12-2012 00:00
On its own, gold has its value, serving as jewelry, as medium of exchange, as well as has its industrial uses. Even so, this doesn’t stop people from using gold for certain unorthodox purposes or to wow the public. This makes for some extremely expensive items, as listed below.
1. Japanese Christmas Tree
With a value of about US$2 million, this Christmas Tree by the jeweler Ginza Tanaka stands 2.4 metres, and weighs 12 kg. The ornaments, as can be seen, are heart-shaped. The golden tree just came out this year (2012).
2. One-ton Kangaroo
Australia’s Perth Mint casted the world’s largest gold bullion coin. Dated 2012, using the mint’s design for the year, it includes the image of Queen Elizabeth II and on the other side, a kangaroo. It is 80 centimetres wide, and 12 centimetres thick. Its legal tender value is AU$1 million, but a ton’s worth of gold at spot price (AU$1,650/oz.) is actually closer to AU$50 million.
3. Golden Buddha
The Golden Buddha is the world’s largest solid-gold statue, measuring three metres tall, and weighing 5.5 tonnes, worth about US$300 million at today’s spot price (US$1,650/oz.). The statue is located in Bangkok. It has a fascinating history spanning several centuries. It was made around the 13th or 14th century, cast in different parts of India.
After the Ayutthaya Kingdom (located in present-day Thailand) was attacked by Burmese invaders in the 18th century, the Golden Buddha remained among ruins, plastered in stucco as a means of keeping it safe from theft.
Perhaps it was kept too safe. In 1801, the Thai King Rama I had Buddha statues and images brought to Bangkok. Still, the statue remained inconspicuous in a temple among hundreds of temples.
It was in 1955 that the plaster accidentally broke, revealing the pure gold underneath. Ever since, the Golden Buddha has been a popular tourist attraction.
4. Gold Diamond Bra
Totaling US$1 million worth of 18-carat gold and 500 carats of diamonds, this bra took three months to design, and over a year to make. Comfort is probably secondary.
5. Classic: The Taj Mahal
We are including the Taj Mahal, if only because the original finial at the top of the temple once used to be made of pure gold. This was however replaced in the 19th century and ever since has been merely gold-plated. Still not much less of a wonder due to this modification.
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