Apple has sold more than 421 million iPhones since releasing the digital device in 2008, but three month’s ago the London-based luxury gift and accessories store Harrod’s began selling a $111,000 iPhone case that would make any 5S user stand out from the crowd.
The Jesus mobe, developed by a partner of Harrod’s’ technology division, is a 24-karat jewel-encrusted iPhone case that displays 300 VVS1 diamonds — the category ranked just beneath completely flawless — totaling 22.5 carats, and emeralds, rubies and sapphires. The iPhone case, according to the Forbes website, actually sells frequently enough to be considered more than a novelty product.
A cell phone case equivalent to the price of a starter home in Orlando, Florida, has its practical objections, but the Jesus mobe is not the first or most expensive iPhone case for sale in the luxury goods market. In fact a $7.2 million dollar 500-diamond case totaling more than 100 carats, including a rare 7.4 carat single cut flawless pink diamond with polished Tyrannosaurus rex bone embedded in the body. Only two were released, due to its exorbitant price.
Since the digital device’s physical dimensions will likely change after the next iPhone iteration, what would the owners’ do with the case? A paper weight? Or perhaps you could find a Jesus mobe case or two for sale on eBay. Any jewelophile worth her diamonds realizes that these quality stones can be re-purposed, but would the iPhone case bling attract a true jewelry connoisseur, or someone displaying buying power? The marriage of precious gems and technology feels a bit forced, due to the pairing’s short history primarily centered in the novelty product arena. For example, the gold-plated cassette tape, and the gold and diamond turntable ring were items that built bling’s ironic reputation, but would a design house ever entertain the iPhone case as an authentic jewelry feat?
The designer of the world’s most expensive iPhone cases is UK-based Stuart Hughes, who first made one in jewel-encrusted gold when the 3GS version released in 2009. A businessman commissioned Hughes to develop one case to include a family heirloom diamond, a rare 26-carat black diamond, which released at a $16.4 million price tag. You can view Hughes diplaying his top one-percent bling from his black leather sofa flanked with furry purple pillows, presumably his Solid Gold bachelor pad, on a YouTube video.
Jeweled novelty items have a lengthy history, but one can only imagine how future generations would judge us after finding a scandalously luxurious tribute to a communication device. Steve Jobs may have a T-Rex bone to pick with the luxury cases’ designers, however, because the complicated diamond and precious stone patterns would not be classified at user-centered or minimalist by any stretch of the imagination. What type of iPhone case would an Apple technologist envision? Perhaps a platinum case with a single diamond apple.