It’s no secret that Indians have an affinity for gold. But one man from Pimpri Chinchwad, a town outside Pune, India, raised the bar when he commissioned a $250,000 shirt made entirely from gold.
Datta Phuge, who calls himself “the gold man,” said his gilded, seven-pound top is an elite status symbol that’s helped him to attain a lifelong dream. “People have different aspirations,” Phuge told the BBC. “Some elite people want to own an Audi or Mercedes, and have big cars. I chose gold.”
While he does own five cars, Phuge’s investment in gold takes priority. Aside from adorning himself in gold chains, bangles, cuffs and rings, Phuge’s wife is also decked out with more than 1,000 lbs worth of gold, he said.
The extravagant top took a team of goldsmiths from Rankar Jewelers 15 days to complete. The 133-year-old company used images of Indian kings clad in armor and an Italian weave for inspiration. The cumbersome garment is lined with velvet and cannot be washed, which makes it a bit impractical during India’s sweltering summer. Instead, Phuge only sports the shirt on special occasions, and to ensure its safety and his, employs a security guard to follow him around.
The money lender first made his fortune as a property speculator, according to the BBC, and is often adding new items to his gold collection. ”If the need arises, I can sell the shirt and have the money,” he adds.
Too bad the shirt’s not worth what it once was. Following a decade-long boom from 2001 to 2011, the value of gold has tumbled in the past week. But that won’t stop Phuge from adding to his fashion collection. Next up for “the gold man” are a gold mobile phone or a pair of gold shoes.