It’s Valentine’s Day! And to celebrate the idea of love, romance and gift giving, we thought we’d share with you these incredibly extravagant gifts given to loved ones and other cohorts throughout history.
And don’t worry, if you can’t afford anything this impressive, a red rose will still do the trick.
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
According to legend, the King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar II, had the huge Hanging Gardens created for his wife, Amytis, in an attempt to help her overcome her longing for her homeland, Media. Today, it is still unknown whether this amazing Wonder of the Ancient World was actually real or only fictional.
Imperial Fabergé Egg
Fabergé eggs were all the rage in the late 1800s and early 1990s in Russia. Perhaps the most famous and romantic Fabergé egg was the one commissioned by the Russian Tsar Alexander III, who gave it to his wife as a gift in 1885, presumably to celebrate their 20th anniversary. Today, the majority of the Fabergé eggs have survived, but most of the ones made for the Imperial family have become lost.
The Statue of Liberty
Measuring 150 metres tall, this iconic sculpture was gifted to the United States by the people of France as a token of friendship following the end of the US Civil War. Lady Liberty was based on the Romanian Goddess of Freedom, Libertas, and cost around US$530,000 to build. Impressive!
The Taj Mahal
Widely considered to be the ultimate symbol of love, the Taj Mahal was built for Empress Mumtaz Mahal by her husband, Emperor Shah Jahan, and her tomb now rests inside. This world famous UNESCO heritage structure took 22 years to build and is known for its exquisite Mughal architecture.
The Burton-Taylor Diamond
Originally valued at over $1 million, this African diamond, originally cut by Harry Winston, contains a staggering 69.42 carats. Romantic, right? In 1969, Richard Burton thought so, since he gave it as a gift to his then wife, Elizabeth Taylor. After they divorced, she sold it for around $5 million and used the money to build a hospital in Botswana.
A Trip to Space
Pop star Katy Perry found a unique way to spoil her boyfriend Russell Brand, buying him a trip into outer space on the Virgin Galactic. This extravagant gift cost Perry a cool $200,000 and included a 5 day space training course for Brand.
The Orlov Diamond
This magnificent diamond is considered priceless and was given to Russian Empress Queen Catherine by military commander Count Orlov in 1798. Far too enormous to be worn on a ring, it was instead made into the centrepiece of a fabulous wand. Today, it rests in the collection at the Kremlin in Moscow.
A Table Fountain
All wasn’t always well during the courtship and marriage of Henry VIII of England and Anne Boleyn, but they did love each other at least a little. In 1534, Anne had this silver-gilt rosewater table fountain made for Henry as a New Year’s gift and it was reportedly inlaid with rubies, diamonds and pearls. It wasn’t entirely decorative, either, and was actually intended for rinsing and washing the hands. While many descriptions and sketches of the fountain exist today, what happened to the actual gift is a bit of a mystery.