The Emirates Palace Hotel Decorated Christmas Tree tops them all at USD 11.4 million. It’s so expensive that it cost more than the combined value of the other top nine contenders on our list with a few millions to spare.
It’s nigh time to be jolly once again, but before we plunge into the hectic activities of completing our Christmas preparations, let’s take a look at how some of Santa’s party go about fashioning their Christmas trees. No, we won’t be looking at the most unique ensemble; rather, we’re going after the ones who charted the glittering course of diamonds, gold, even platinum, to fashion out the dreamiest of Christmas trees, ever.
One thing stands out about these most expensive Christmas trees: they’re rarely made from the same natural boughs that the early Estonians, Latvians and Germans favored. Instead, our list is populated by masters of design with visions of glitter to meet the euphoria of the holidays, choosing precious gems and ores rather than the natural medium of tree parts, all twigs and leaves of them. Well, sometimes going natural can be a bit of a trouble.
To start proceedings with our most expensive Christmas trees in the world, we are going to London. There, the management of the fashionable London hotel Sofitel pays tribute to hard-nosed London pub culture and posh elegance in this seemingly mundane metal frame concoction laced with 200 miniature sized 24-carat gold bottles containing no less than Louis XIII Grand Champagne Cognac. They were made by hand by Baccarat masters, some of the more renowned crafters of crystal products. Crowning the Christmas tree is an exclusive smoky-blue chandelier. To spice things up, the hotel offered guests the chance to order a Christmas spa program worth £ 2,900 along with a gift—an exquisite decoration from Baccarat. If you happen to stumble to the whole getup needing to fill up, you would do well to work your way from the top if you don’t want the whole structure bearing down on you for a dizzying smash. If that happens, be ready for the hospital bills and the USD 55,000 price of the whole shebang.
As you will discover further down this list, Tokyo, Japan Ginza district’s Tanaka jewelry store is quite fond of gold, fashioning the precious metal into something that would produce rich oohhs and aahhs from the adoring public. In this case, the output is one 12kg worth of solid gold fashioned into pure yellow sparkling delight. In today’s dollar, that is worth 468,000—good for number 9 on our list.
For a bit of background trivia, Ginza—Silver Street in literal English but really stands for “mint”—refers to places where money was minted from way back in 1612. That means any time you find a place labeled Ginza, the place is certified royal mint in days past. Ginza Tokyo is not only famous for its Tanaka jewelry, it’s also the place where you will find land with the most astronomic valuation on Earth, a match for the gold pieces dished out by one of its residents, Tanaka jewelry store. Of course it doesn’t hurt that Westerners will not find themselves at a loss in the area, Ginza Tokyo being the first area in Tokyo to fashion itself into Western mold after the 1872 fire that gutted the district.
In 2007, jeweler Steve Quick was in a special mood to bring out the spirit of the holiday his own way: come up with a creation that is both elegantly aesthetic and reflect the virtue of charity that the occasion calls for. Pounding 18 karat of solid good into glistening yellow Christmas tree awashed in a scattering of diamonds to give the viewer the perception of crisp snow was his ticket to his vision.
Topping the golden tree is star crafted from both platinum and diamond valued at 4.52 carats. The star is fully detachable too, allowing the owner to use it as a pendant. Though tree and pendant found no paying clients when it was displayed at the storefront, an eBay auction did the trick, with the proceeds going straight to the American Cancer Society. Quick to appease those who balked at the intimidating price, Steve then came up with more accessible silver- and gold-plated versions of the Christmas tree. Selling at the more reasonable prices of USD 20 and USD 25, the decision resulted in everyone being happy.
Next for our most expensive Christmas trees in the world we are heading to Burgis Junction, a shopping mall in Singapore, which commissioned native jeweler Soo Kee to lend a new air to the holidays through a 6-meter, 3-ton Christmas tree bearing 21,798 diamonds totaling 913 carats with twigs thrusting up 3,762 crystal bead for all to marvel at. To make sure the awestruck audience would not miss one tiny detail, Soo Kee placed 500 lightbulbs to bring the whole structure to its full glory.
To ward off uninvited attention from unsavory elements of the population, the majestic setup was subjected to 24/7 security. Tough life for the people who had to make sure not one piece of the thousands is ever missing.
There is still one place in the list where the enormous price of the Christmas tree does not mean artificial limb, twigs and leaves. Since 1964, Washington’s Capitol has committed to a conifer right out its own commissioned tree nursery, replanting the living thing roots and all right in front of the White House once it is holiday-ready.
At times exceeding 20 meters, the humongous but prickly plant calls for thousands of lightbulbs to bring out its glory. Imagine the logistics involved taking the plant out of its home while making sure the roots are intact, carting it off to the Capitol grounds, and negotiating with the stinging branches and its easy to see how expenses could quickly escalate to the million USD. Locals and visitors do not mind, of course: all that price is worth the sight.
Tokyo’s Ginza Tanaka takes centerstage a second time with this 6.6 ft Christmas tree crafted out of shimmering 42 lbs of pure 24-carat gold processed into thin golden wires. Commemorating the shop’s 90th anniversary, the Midas-worth tree was seen as a way to spread Christmas cheer—in Japan. Of course many would be doubly cheerful if they could manage to cart away the whole thing. At USD 1.8 million, however, they need to be content and happy from afar.
While most of the list’s entries have featured towering trees so far, Takashimaya went the other way to prove that size is not all that matters to command attention—and price, of course—when it comes to Christmas tree glamor.
Based on design by Parisian flower boutique Claude Quinquaud, Takashimaya managed to shrink the Christmas tree to a mere 40-centimeter/16-inch height, clustered by a small tower of preserved roses watched over by a bear. On the petals of each rose, however, are diamonds of Australian and African extraction. They lay on the petals like drops of dew that fills another type of thirst, and for anyone capable of shelling out a full USD 1.8 million. The bear companion is no less paltry: by itself is a diamond pendant that twinkles with the stars above.
As expected, Hong Kong is never going to be outdone by Asian neighbors Singapore and Japan. And it’s not going to be satisfied with mere mall or store display: it’s going for the airport, for the jugular window to the world so everybody from the planet visiting the place will not miss its glittery intent. The world’s leading experts in rhinestones, the Swarovski company, is going to be part of the action.
The tree that would come up the airport grounds is no mean feat too, measuring a gargantuan 50 feet high dressed in 20 million Swarovski gold and silver crystals brought all the way from Austria lining the edges. They also made sure that the awesome tree is placed on a location that is highly visible for both departing and arriving travelers.
Ginza Tokyo couldn’t quite make it to number one on our list, but this solid gold is guaranteed to upstage any presents placed under it. The USD 4.27 million jewel of a Christmas tree this time reaches 2.4 meters and features 50 Disney characters who suddenly decided they’d turn themselves into pure gold for the holiday season at this time in Japan. The gold totals 88 pounds, all at 24-carat value. Ten artisans and two months ensured the Disney Tree made it to the store display in time.
If you bothered to calculate and wonder now how 88 pounds of gold became USD 4.27 million, the solution is rather quite mundane, in the world of precious gem craftsmanship at least: part of the price goes to the design.
All that glittering gold Christmas tree at Ginza Japan must be making Christmas shine even more than usual yearly at this spot of the planet.
If you’re still scratching your head about how the price of design could equal the material’s weight in gold, you’d probably be pondering deeper how Abu Dhabi, not the most Christian state in the planet of all places, could figure in and even wrap up proceedings in our most expensive Christmas trees in the world.
But yes, in 2010 the most expensive tree in history sprouted up at Abu Dhabi, at the luxury Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi to be exact.
The total cost of the tree did not come from the structure itself: in fact, it did not exceed several thousand dollars. You would have to fix your attention on what they put around the tree: the Christmas decorations, which managed to chalk up expense in the millions. We are talking about extreme number of diamonds, gold, pearls, sapphires and emeralds here.
Not content with that, they decided to hoist watches, necklaces and bracelets along with the precious balls. While you may think that is exorbitantly excessive in the land of liquid gold, bear in mind that Dubai and Abu Dhabi are typically deluged by the wealthiest of visitors. Once you do, it’s easier to see how the demands of such VIP customers could take precedence over traditional views. For a hotel that provides automatic machines to sell gold bars and the use of a private jet, an 11.4 million USD Christmas tree figures to be a small matter in hindsight.
Love this most expensive article? Then head over to our magnificent master list of everything most expensive in the planet. Also watch out for our upcoming piece on the most expensive gifts in the world to further heat things up as we approach the holidays.
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