A jeweler selects diamonds, smelts and polishes gold, and fashions a gorgeous accessory. This luxe item isn’t a ring, necklace, or even a crown: It’s a coronavirus face mask. At a time when millions worldwide are suffering, it’s no wonder such a showy piece might rub some folks the wrong way.
For thousands of years, people have worn jewelry to display their skill, status, superstition, or affection. Bones, gems, “good luck” charms, and precious metals have all told stories about their wearer.
The same is true today. Adornments tell a story. Instead of an outward focus, Christians are free of a need to appear impressive. We can, instead, focus on adorning our insides with qualities that do not pass away, like love, joy, peace, and kindness. The Bible encourages, “Let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” (1 Peter 3:4)
Jewelry makers Orna and Isaac Levy work with earthly adornments. The Levys founded Yvel in 1986. According to its website, “Yvel [creates] a variety of striking one-of-a-kind treasures that are themselves, true works of art.” Their pieces are both unusual and beautiful—strands of fine gold twisting around bumpy, odd-shaped pearls swirling with purple and teal and cream.
Now Yvel is constructing the world’s most expensive face covering. The 18-karat white gold mask will be decorated with 3,600 white and black diamonds. The posh mask isn’t all show—it will also come with top-rated N99 filters.
Designer Isaac Levy isn’t making the mask for fun. It’s been pre-ordered. Levy won’t identify the buyer. He will say it’s a Chinese businessman living in the United States.
The buyer wants his swanky mask completed by the end of the year. He also wants it to be the priciest in the world. According to Levy, that last condition “was the easiest to fulfill.” The price tag is a cool $1.5 million.
Levy has been working on the diamond-studded face covering at his factory near Jerusalem. “Money maybe doesn’t buy everything,” Levy says. “But if it can buy a very expensive COVID-19 mask, and the guy wants to wear it and walk around and get the attention, he should be happy with that.”
The glitzy mask may lend some pizzazz to the protective gear now mandatory in public spaces in many countries. But weighing over half a pound—nearly 100 times that of a typical surgical mask—it’s not very practical.
Levy says he wouldn’t wear the glam mask himself. Still, he’s thankful for the opportunity.
“I am happy that this mask gave us enough work for our employees,” he says, “to be able to provide their jobs in very challenging times like these times right now.”