If you think that the handcrafted necklace you bought as a birthday gift for Mom was expensive, or that the scrapbook you made for your girlfriend already took a lot of hard work, then you most likely have not heard about these gifts. Read this short guide to some of history's most expensive, extraordinary and jaw-dropping gifts:
– The Amber Room
In pre-World War II Russia was a room whose walls was made of amber panels and had decorations of gold leaves and mirrors. Considered to be the "Eight Wonder of the World" for its sheer beauty and opulence, the Amber Room was one of the greatest attractions of Catherine the Great's Tsarkoye Selo palace.
The room however, has not always been a Russian possession. The room was originally a part of Prussian king Friedrich I's home (the Charlottenburg Palace). It was built from 1701 to 1709 by master craftsman Gottfried Wolfram and, at the time of its destruction, contained over six tonnes of the precious resin. The room found its way to Russia in 1716 after Friedrich Wilhelm I, hoping to further cement German-Prussian relations, wave the entire room to Peter the Great as a gift after the latter expressed his admiration for it's beauty.
– The Taj Mahal
Dubbed by UNESCO as "one of the most universally invited masterpieces of the world's heritage", the Taj Mahal was built as a symbol of a man's undying love for his wife. The famous structure was commissioned by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in 1632 after the death of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It was to be the final resting place of the grief-stricken emperor's wife.
The grand mausoleum features a plinth, a tomb, four minarets, a mosque and an articulate gateway and took 12 years to complete. Are not you glad you could now easily buy gifts and jewelry online?
– Great Animals for the King
Most animal lovers get a puppy or a kitten as a gift, that's not the case however, when you are a monarch. Over the course of his reign, England's Henry III received a variety of great beasts as gifts from his fellow monarchs. In 1235, the Holy Roman Emperor Fredrick II sent him three leopards (Henry's royal shield of arms featured three leopards). The three great cats were then followed by a great white bear from the king of Norway in 1252 and an elephant from Louis IX in 1255.
– Imperial Easter Eggs
Thinking about buying your girlfriend a birthday gift that goes beyond the usual jewelry and flowers? Try taking a cue from Tsar Alexander III who in 1889, commissioned the famous jeweler company Faberge to make a special Easter egg for his wife, the Empress Maria Fedorovna. When folded open, the first Faberge egg (which was actually made of gem stones) opens to reveal a gold yolk, which in turn, has a golden chicken inside it. The chicken meanwhile, contains a replica of the Imperial Crown which has a tiny ruby egg hanging from it.
The queen was so delicated with the exquisitely bejeweled egg that the Tsar ordered that an egg with a surprise inside was created for his wife every year.
– £ 50 Million House
While most husbands usually buy ladies perfume or a nice piece of necklace as a gift for their wives, Bernie Ecclestone, the president and CEO of Formula One Management, just had to go a few steps further. The "king of F1" proved to his wife (and the rest of the world) just how generous a husband he is by surprising his spouse with a £ 50 million palace. Located in the Kensington Palace Gardens (England's Billionaires' Row), the mansion has 12 rooms, a garage that can hold 20 cars and is close to Kensington Palace the London home of the Sultan of Brunei.
Not all of us could afford to give our husbands a vintage Ferrari car or our wives the ultimate Christmas gift for women (diamonds, what else?). Just take comfort in the fact that whatever your gift may be, as long as it comes from the heart, it will always be cherished and appreciated.