With precious metals prices tumbling over the past week, gold has held onto its value a lot better than silver. For some people, gold is the ultimate safe haven commodity.
For most people owning the metal means buying gold bars or an ETF, but some people choose to splash out on something a little more fashionable and fun, like a piece of decadent luxury that won't go out of style even if gold prices were to fall.
So here's a look at the 10 most outrageous items some people have found to stake their gold claims.
By Michael Kearns
Posted April 28, 2011
British jewelry maker Stuart Hughes marries the state of the art in gadgetry with mind-blowing opulence.
This pimped out version of the iPad2 is made with 2000 grams of solid 24-carat gold and 53 gems, including multiple diamonds.
Throw in some of the world's oldest rock, ammolite, some Tyrannosaurus Rex thigh bone, and this iPad 2 is selling for $8,254,150. But if you want one, you'll have to rush, Stuart Hughes is only making two.
This Infiniti convertible plated with 24-carat gold was unveiled in March 2011 at a jewelers shop in Nanjing in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu.
According to local reports, it took five artisans four months to give the car its full bling.
The car was later towed away from outside the store for not having been properly registered.
Don't throw out the shavings from these pencils.
Korean designer Daisung Kim created the pencils, which have a thin 24k layer of gold plating. They retail for $20.
Splish splash away in style in this bathtub made with 24k white gold tiles.
It was designed by Japanese manufacturer INAX and put on display in the company's Tokyo showroom in August 2010. The price tag: $94,000.
No tin ear here. For the audiophile who has everything, Japanese-based Final Audio Design has created high-performance gold plated earphones.
The starter model goes for $940.
Show your mates you're no Homer Simpson, while you chug from this gold beer mug made by Japan's leading jeweler, Ginza Tanaka.
It's made from 850 grams of gold and sells for $50,000.
This toilet, manufactured by Hong Kong-based jeweler Hang Fung Gold Technology, and on display in its HK showroom, can truly be considered a throne.
Made of 24k solid gold, it weighs nearly a metric tonne. Designer Lam Sai-wing said he was inspired by Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin's declaration that when a communist revolution swept over the world, there would be public toilets made of gold.
Built back in 2001 when gold was in the $200-$300 range, it is now valued at approximately $37 million.
Talk about keeping precious things close to your heart.
Chinese designer Zhou Ningxin designed this gold filigree bra, weighing 458 grams, for a jewelry show in Beijing.
Several similar pieces have appeared around the world, including one in South Korea valued at $1.89 million.
Not likely coming soon to a lemonade stand near you.
This lemonade filled with flakes of 24-carat gold leaf was produced by the Elixia Faustin company after a client in Dubai who was looking for a deluxe and non-alcoholic version contacted the French company.
What a way to go. This coffin, covered in 24 carat gold, was made by Art Funeral Italy and debuted at the 2010 Verona Luxury and Yacht show — an event known to be "for billionaires only."
Just in case the dearly departed needs to make a call from the beyond, it also comes with a gold-plated mobile phone. The coffin's worth an estimated $400,000.
Singers Michael Jackson and James Brown were buried in gold coffins, as was notorious Australian gangster Carl Williams — all presumably without a phone.