Since the dawn of civilization, human beings have been making things fancier, shinier, and generally more gorgeous by covering them with gems, precious metals, and various forms of art. From Tutankhamun’s funeral mask to Lil’ Wayne’s grill, we will put what sparkles and shines on practically any surface we can find, whether in an effort to glorify our leaders or ourselves. And since we here at Mighty Skins are in the business of fancying things up and making them say “me!”, we thought we’d check out some of the things that people have blinged throughout history.
We mentioned Tutankhamun’s funeral mask. It’s this one→
No doubt you’ve seen it before. What you may not have realized is that that mask topped a solid gold coffin, which weighed in at upwards of 240 pounds (these days, that’d run you about $4 million, if you got a good deal). Also found in the Pharoah’s tomb were a throne wrapped in sheets of gold and silver and inlaid with semiprecious stones, faience and colored glass and numerous (and sizeable) pieces of gold jewelry, many of which adorned the Pharoah’s mummy. These precious metals and gems may have been meant to make an impression in the next life more than this one, we’ve got to give it to King Tut. He went out with *bling*.
While it took the Europeans a little longer to get in the bling swing, once they started, they went all out.
Exhibit A: The British Crown Jewels. So blinged are the crowns of the British monarchy that some of them look like an over-privileged kid got hold of a Bedazzler and went to town with literally billions of dollars’ worth of precious gems. But we think what really takes the cake in this collection is the royal stick. We mean scepter. It’s feature stone? The second-largest cut diamond in the world, Cullinan I (that’s right, it has a name). This diamond, also called the “Great Star of Africa”, is the largest piece of the largest gem-quality diamond ever found and weighs a little more than 530 carats. But that’s not all. The second-largest bit of the largest diamond ever found, Cullinan II, is also in her majesty’s collection, surrounded by 2,868 other diamonds, 273 pearls, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, and 5 rubies on the Imperial State Crown. For coronation, the British Monarch holds the scepter and wears the crown, and possibly several other pieces of the original diamond, all of which have been mounted in various articles of royal jewelry.
Exhibit B: The Palace at Versailles. The sheer size of this place, especially at the time it was expanded – by the Louis now known as the “Sun King”, incidentally – was a statement in itself. And not a statement of humble modesty. This thing took nearly 50 years and four campaigns to build. But you know what it started out as? A hunting lodge. The Palace at Versailles is a blinged out hunting lodge. Albeit, a hunting lodge with 700 rooms, 1250 chimneys, gold everywhere and, um, and opera hall.
Compared to royalty, today’s pop stars and oil barons have nothing on the bling market. Of course, compared to the rest of us, they have a pretty mean bling, which we will be taking a look at down the road. Fortunately, for most of us, we’re happy to just add a little flare here and there and save our billions for space exploration and fast cars. We can certainly help you there. With the flare, we mean. Not so much with space and cars. Although…