By Michelle Graff and Catherine Dayrit


I've (this is Michelle writing) not been at this job all that long (my first day was Nov. 12), but one thing I have noticed in my short tenure is the amount of over-the-top diamond-jewelry items that companies take the time to create and people, presumably, buy.


The first one to float into my Google-news-alert-wired inbox was an $85,000 Barbie doll designed by none other than De Beers itself. Now, you might be saying to yourself, why is this Barbie doll $85,000? Well, the doll is outfitted in a dress adorned with 160 diamonds complemented by white gold miniature jewelry. The doll was produced in 1999 to mark Barbie's 40th anniversary, but still is tagged as the "world's most expensive Barbie doll."



If there was an award for "most expensive doll wearing the least amount of clothing possible without falling into the category of being sold in a sex shop," I think it might take that one too. You can check it out here, on a Web site called Pricy-Spicy.


Next on the ridiculous express was this journey into the stratosphere of teeth-cleaning extravagance. Priced from $800 to $3,000, these diamond-encrusted toothpick sleeves are, according to the Web site, one step beyond gold toothpicks, which used to be the gift of choice, apparently, for "the person who has everything."



If somebody has everything, then why get that person anything? Why not make a donation to a charity in his or her name instead of buying them a $3,000 toothpick holder? I have a friend from college, Melissa, who was raised in an upper-middle-class suburb of Cincinnati. She has a good job, as do both of her parents and her three siblings. Several years ago, she and her family quit giving each other Christmas gifts. Instead, the family now takes the money they would have spent buying each other things they don't need and donates it to a charity. I think this is a great idea, and a wonderful substitution from buying "people who have everything" $3,000 toothpick holders.



But, I digress: next up is a $20,000 iPhone case. According to its manufacturer, CaseMate, this case is handcrafted with 3.5 carats of diamonds that are H color and VVSI clarity. In other words, the diamonds, though individually small, are very nice. The diamonds are embedded in a rare, gold carbon fiber leather case. On the back of the case is a CaseMate emblem of 14-karat gold.


This all explains the $20,000 part, but still doesn't explain why anyone would need a cell phone case that costs more than some cars. Also, and maybe I'm alone here, but my cell phone takes a lot of abuse. It gets tossed around in my purse, dropped, spilled on, you name it. In my hands, a case like this for any cell phone would be worth about $5,000 after a week. Phone home here.



As for my (Cate's) contribution to this madness, I'm currently scratching my head about French cosmetic house Guerlain's $62,000 lipstick, named "KissKiss Gold and Diamonds."


I made my first true makeup splurge two weeks ago, spending $27 on a tube of Chanel mascara, and fantastic as it is, I think I spent $20 too much. So suffice to say, a $62,000 lipstick seems over the top by about $61,993.


KissKiss Gold and Diamonds, which comes in 15 colors, is encased in a solid 18-karat yellow gold tube studded with 199 diamonds for a total carat weight of 2.2. The tube can also be customized with rubies, emeralds and engraving.


For some reason, I can fathom there being in existence a diamond-encrusted toilet (how else are the rap stars going to step things up on Cribs?), but I'm having a problem processing this thing. The upside for any ladies who take the bait: The tube is refillable. To get your own, make a private appointment with Guerlain at New York's Bergdorf Goodman by calling (212) 872-2734.



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