Buying gifts at Christmas can bring with it a mixture of emotions. Whilst it’s always amazing to see someone you love completely over the moon with what you’ve bought them, it can be quite a stressful time when you’re trying to manage your money, navigate your way through the busy shops and think of ideas for those people who are always so hard to buy for.
And whilst it’s not always about how much you spend on gifts, rather the thought behind them that makes them special, we’ve been thinking about what gifting would be like if money was no object. Here’s our list of five of the most elaborate gifts that have been bought throughout history…
If you’re dreaming of diamonds this Christmas, then it doesn’t get bigger than the Kohinoor. It’s thought to be the largest diamond in the world and it was gifted to Queen Victoria by the last Maharaja of the Sikh empire, Duleep Singh, in 1849 as a mark of respect. When they received the diamond, the Queen and Prince Albert reportedly thought that the stone was a bit dull, so three years later they had it cut down so that it would sparkle more! The diamond was then set into the Queen Mother’s crown and is still a treasured part of the British Crown Jewels.
19th floor at the Burj Khalifa
It’s the world’s tallest building that dominates the Dubai skyline and if you want to stay in the hotel within the Burj Khalifa, you’ll need to be able to fork out over £500 a night. So how would you feel if someone was to buy you your own apartment that stretched across a whole floor within the building? Well, that’s what UK business man Raj Kundra did for his wife, Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty in 2010. However, as extravagant as this may seem to us, three years after she received the gift, she decided it was time to sell as the apartment was just too small!
A palatial memorial
Emperor Shah Jahan wanted to honour his late wife with a long-lasting gift in her memory and so set out to build a beautiful palatial memorial. The finished palace is what we all know as the Taj Mahal, which is still one of the world’s most admired buildings and India’s top tourist attraction. It took over 22 years to build and cost the equivalent of $827 million in today’s money. It’s also believed that the Emperor executed many of the architects and craftsmen that were involved in building the palace, because he wanted to ensure that nothing as stunning could be built again.
New York necklace
In 1917, New York banker Morton Plank convinced the jewellers Cartier to take his six-storey Fifth Avenue mansion as payment for a $1 million ($20 million in today’s prices) pearl necklace, so he could gift this to his wife. The mansion was then transformed into Cartier’s flagship New York store and to this day attracts visitors from all over the world. Sadly for Mr Plank though, the invention of cultured pearls caused prices to drop massively and after his wife’s death in 1956, the necklace was sold for just $150,000. The same can’t be said for property of course – so if he’d held onto his mansion, it could have been worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Sailing the seas
The Ambani family are India’s richest family and they seem to like splashing the cash when it comes to gifts. After Mukesh Ambani gave his wife a $60 million Airbus private jet, his billionaire brother Anil Ambani decided he needed to go one better and gifted a 34-metre super yacht to his wife, costing him a whopping $80 million. The yacht’s price tag was more than double the standard million-per-metre cost of the majority of super yachts, so it’s thought that the fixtures and fittings were finished to the most luxurious of standards.