There seems to be no end to the oodles of jewels and layers of gold being slapped onto deluxe tech these days. In part 1 of a Crave series on ultimate luxury, we have a look at phones and tablets Liberace would have loved.
Let's face it: Ordinary gadgets are ephemeral. Your smartphone may be new today, but it'll be obsolete tomorrow. Is it really worth hundreds of dollars?
How about thousands? Or tens of thousands? Yes, you can add diamonds and gold to your tech toys and embrace that fleeting usefulness with a sense of glamor and devil-may-care about the future or your finances. If you can afford them, makers of glam gadgets will put stunning wealth in the palm of your hand.
For instance, for the price of a luxury car, the Aesir AE + Y will let everyone know just how much you don't cling to money.
This bare-bones offering from Danish company Aesir has solid-gold keys, a sapphire crystal screen, and a wraparound high-gloss ceramic body. Price tag: $54,000. But don't expect to take any photos, browse the Web, or check your position with GPS, because it can't do any of that.
At least no one can use it to snap incriminating photos at millionaires' parties. There's a declasse stainless-steel version for only $9,400.
It boasts 1 kilogram of gold and 300 carats worth of perfect diamonds. There are black diamonds on the Home button as well as the Apple logo on the back.
If you've got the shekels, Camael will customize your own iPad with gems of your choice. How would you outdo diamonds?
Fancy some black alligator in your back pocket? This $12,800 version of the Vertu Ti is a midrange option from the bespoke maker, formerly part of Nokia.
Handmade in England and running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the Ti is a heavy chunk of glam housed in sturdy titanium; features include a Concierge service, a helper on speed-dial for booking tickets, accommodation, or other jobs.
While it may be five times more durable than other mobiles, the Ti is 10 times more expensive.
$15 million black-diamond iPhone
What did a Hong Kong businessman do with his family's 26-carat black diamond? Putting it in safekeeping is too boring, so he hired British craftsman Stuart Hughes to stick it onto an iPhone 5.
The $15 million phone has a solid-gold chassis, 600 white diamonds for added bling, and the black diamond right on the Home button.
Diamonds may be forever, but how long will the iPhone 5 last?
For ladies: The $3,000 Gresso
The Cruiser Titanium White from Russian glam-electronics maker Gresso isn't much of a luxury bargain, but what is? For $3,000 you get a solid titanium case, pear-like stainless steel buttons, and a Symbian S40 operating system.
You might feel better knowing it's limited to 999 units. Or you could take inspiration from its fanciful ad copy, which suggests it's for women: "Feminine handset of Cruiser collection is highlighted by pearl white color. The perfect ensemble of glossy mirror surface and pure snow-white color adds the phone a romantic and delicate touch."
Luxor Las Vegas Jackpot
Jackpot! You must have gotten very lucky in Vegas if you can afford this ridiculously opulent handset from Gresso. Priced at a very cool $1 million, the Luxor Las Vegas Jackpot is an ode to excess: a case made of 180 grams of 18-karat gold, and adorned with rare black diamonds and 200-year-old African blackwood on the back panel. Its laser-engraved keys are fashioned from crystal sapphires.
As far as design goes, the gold-brown motif on the case recalls the roulette wheels of Sin City, the capital city of excess itself.
Burj Al Arab
Golden iPads for all
Next time you check in at Dubai's jaw-dropping Burj Al Arab, you'll find a gold-plated iPad waiting in your suite. They don't boast diamonds (yawn), but the 24-karat tablets are engraved with the property's logo on the back.
Produced by Gold & Co. London, the iPads are on sale in the hotel's boutique. Should you wish one, they're a cool $10,200.
National Sapphire Company
Sapphires for your iPad Mini?
Your iPad Mini doesn't want to look generic. It needs this $700,000 case splashed with natural sapphires and diamonds.
The National Sapphire Company's case has an18K high-polished white gold body set with 3,328 natural Ceylon blue sapphires. The Apple logo is set with 50 round diamonds weighing a total of 5 carats.
"Don't be just another drone on your hour-long commute fitting snuggly in with the steel gray of our technological society," the company said in a blog post. "Be different, be unique... be conspicuously and resplendently beautiful!!!"
For $1,950, you get a 3G Kindle in hardened 24-karat gold with optional Swarovski crystals. What better bling to caress with your fingers while your eyes drift through your favorite e-book?
Gold & Co. London
BlackBerry P9981 Porsche Design
If you love tech bling, you can't overlook Gold & Co. London's shimmering wares. The company applies multiple layers of gold plating to popular Apple and BlackBerry products, like this BlackBerry P9981 Porsche Design.
Gold & Co. uses T304 aircraft-grade stainless steel for its housings, which are plated with 24-karat gold. Each is then numbered and shipped in a hardwood box.
Gold & Co. London
Golden iPhone 5
Has the iPhone 5 ever looked this good? Gold & Co. London's version of the phone has engravings on the back indicating it's part of a limited set of 250. It also comes in rose gold.
Gold & Co. London
For diehard Blackberry fans, this 24-karat gold-plated Q10 is billed as the first of its kind by Gold & Co. London.
Gold & Co. London
Gold-plated iPad Minis
Rounding out Gold & Co. London's Apple lineup, the gold and rose gold iPad Minis come in a limited edition of 250.