Goldgenie Superstar Ice. Photo: AFP
Goldgenie has launched a customized iPhone finished with gold and diamonds that actually becomes more -- rather than less -- valuable as it gets older.
When buying any electronic device and, in particular a smartphone, most consumers do so knowing that within a year it will no longer be the fastest or the best on the market, such is the rate of change. But what about if a smartphone actually became more, rather than less valuable with each passing year?
The Goldgenie Superstar Ice attempts to do that. An iPhone 5 embellished with 200g of solid 18ct gold and encrusted with 364 5.5ct diamonds, it can be yours for £64,000 ($100,000) but, thanks to the growing demand for gold for everything from internal circuitry to bespoke jewelry, the handset's value will continue to mature even after the standard iPhone 5 has been superseded by the iPhone 6, 7 and 8.
As Goldgenie founder Laban Roomes, explains: "The value of gold is constantly increasing, making this purchase a real investment for the future." However, the company, which produces a wide range of equally embellished smartphones and tablets as well as offering a full bespoke customizing service, also accepts that no matter how striking or valuable the handset's exterior design, phones are consumer items and therefore need to be changed and upgraded from time to time. "Many people like to upgrade every year or two which is why this unique range is timeless. The 200grams of solid gold can be melted down and, along with the diamonds, be re-designed to embellish any other phone model," says Roomes.
This is particularly good news for wealthy consumers who prefer Android to Apple handsets. Thanks to the severe fragmentation within its operating system and the lack of any guarantee that any particular phone from any particular manufacturer will receive timely software update to the latest version of the Android operating system, it is often much simpler to just buy another up-to-date handset than to play a waiting game.
A London-based company, Goldgenie also offers a range of 24ct gold, rose gold and platinum-plated iPhones that start at £1,831 (about US$2870) and boasts a number of celebrities, including David Beckham, Elton John and Simon Cowel,l as existing clients.
The Superstar Ice is the latest in a growing number of customized iPhones to have been released over the past eight months and is by no means the most exclusive or expensive. Currently, that honor goes to luxury designer Stuart Hughes who in April revealed a one-off customized handset he had created for a wealthy Chinese businessman. Based on a standard iPhone 5 but with a solid gold -- rather than aluminum -- internal chassis and with a flawless 24ct black diamond where the homekey should be, when all of the gold, plus the value of each of the 600 flawless diamonds set into its rear panel were taken into account, the phone cost £10 million ($15.6 million).