Whether it’s someone’s birthday, Valentine’s Day or Christmas, picking a gift for someone can be complicated, especially if you have a problem with resources. For sure, everyone likes to receive an expensive gift from someone, but they might also be a little hesitant knowing the real value of your present.
If money is not a problem, you can give the best gift money can buy. From the most expensive vehicles, famous art pieces, extravagant pieces of jewelry, famous and infamous artifacts alike, and pretty much anything you can think of that has a price tag on it.
You can only imagine to what extent people are willing to spend just to show their admiration to someone or even something. Let’s take a closer look at some of the priciest gifts that have ever been given in the history of modern mankind.
The Jewel in The Crown
Kohinoor (sometimes, Koh-i-Noor), literally translates to “Mountain of Light”. Weighing about 21.12 grams or 105.6 carats (first attested weight at 191 carats or 38.2 g), this colorless precious stone is considered to be one of the largest cut diamonds in the world. It is believed to have been mined in India’s Kollur Mine on the banks of Krishna River, which in the present day is Andhra Pradesh, but experts still need to determine the accuracy of this claim.
It is infamous in the British royal family, for they believed it to bring bad luck to any man who possesses it. Only female members of the British royal family wore it.
The gem was presented to Queen Victoria by Maharaja Ranjeet Singh as a part of The Last Treaty of Lahore. After Queen Victoria passed away, the gem was set in Queen Alexandra’s crown, then to Queen Mary’s crown in 1911, until it was laid upon Queen Elizabeth’s crown for her coronation as Queen consort in 1937.
It has now been relocated to the Tower of London, where it is publicly displayed set on the crown at the tower’s Jewel House. Its cost is unknown, but the value of the whole crown jewels is estimated at between 10-12 billion U.S. dollars.
Star Of The East
Although the origins remain unknown, it was believed to be part of the treasure collection of Sultan Abdul Hamid II of the Ottoman Empire. In 1908, after their wedding, for which they received $100,000 from their fathers, Edward and Evalyn McLean traveled to have their honeymoon where Turkey is one of their destinations.
Mrs. McLean was astonished by this beautiful gem so she bought it. An astonishing 94.80 carat or 18.8 g, pear-shaped jewel. The original necklace where the jewel was first documented also had a 34-carat hexagonal emerald, and a pearl of 32 grains.
After Evalyn Walsh McLean died in 1947, jeweler Harry Winston acquired the precious stone together with another gem; The Hope Diamond of which was donated to the Smithsonian Institution. However, The Star of the East’s whereabouts ‘til now remains unknown. The estimated value of this stone is $11.9 million.
Krupp and Taylor-Burton Diamonds
The Elizabeth Taylor Diamond (Krupp Diamond) and Taylor-Burton Diamond, are gifts for Elizabeth Taylor from her husband, Richard Burton. Weighing 33.19 carats (6.6 g), and 68 carats (13.6 g) respectively, the Krupp Diamond and Taylor-Burton diamond have an estimated value of 9.2 million for the Krupp, and 18.9 million for the pear-shaped Taylor-Burton Diamond.
The Krupp Diamond was bought by Richard Burton for his wife Elizabeth in 1986 and is classified to be a Type IIa Diamond considered to be the most chemically pure type of diamond that has exceptional optical transparency.
Taylor-Burton diamond, on the other hand, was bought by Richard Burton at an auction for $1.1 million. It was worn by Elizabeth Taylor as a necklace during the 40th birthday of Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco, and also at the 42nd academy awards.
Art Collection of Leonard Lauder
Leonard Lauder is an American businessman and art collector. With his recent net worth at $13.2 billion, a donation that amounts to $1 billion worth of art masterpieces can still be shocking news for the public.
In 2013, Estée Lauder Companies’ Chairman, Leonard Alan Lauder donated his cubist art collection to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The collection consists of 78 art pieces from several notable cubist artists. 33 of which are works by Pablo Picasso, 17 by George Braque, 14 by Fernand Léger, and the other 14 pieces are by Juan Gris. This is still considered to be the largest art donation of all time.
The Taj Mahal
One of the New Seven Wonders of The World, Taj Mahal can be considered as the ultimate act of undying love and devotion. Planned for and designed by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as the final resting place of his late wife, Empress Mumtaz Mahal –who died giving birth to their 14th child.
This exquisite work of architecture is a 17-hectare mausoleum made out of ivory-white marble. Within the complex are a guest house, a mosque, and a massive garden that are all within its three (crenelated) walls. The Empress’ tomb is the central focus of the entire complex.
The construction of this heritage started in 1632 a year after Mumtaz’s death and was ultimately finished 22 years later. With the help of over 20,000 workers, and approximately more than $800 million later (in today’s money), this architectural masterpiece was completed in its entirety around 1653.
Now, it is being regarded as an extravagant symbol of India’s rich history. Legend also has it that the Emperor murdered several of the people who worked on its construction so that something as glorious would not be recreated. This might also be the most expensive gift –in terms of human lives, in this list. It is a gift that symbolizes eternal love like no other and is the reason for its fame on Indian culture and heritage.